b'By Bill BoyajianFOUR KEY QUESTIONS TO UNDERSTAND YOUR STRATEGYIve always been an advocate that the simpler something is, the easier it is for most people to understand it. This is particularly true if you are trying to develop and communicate a comprehensive company strategy. Your strategy is understandably more than just selling jewelry, so in order to create and convey a coherent plan, here are four simple questions you should consider answering as soon as possible:01 02 03 04What does your customerWho are your competitorsWhat do you need to What is your plan to sustain want and how are youand how do you beat do to make your strategyor improve your competitive providing the solution? them at your game? profitable? advantage and how will it evolve and adapt to future changes?It doesnt matter what youDont tell me that yourYou might be able toChange is inevitable, but think. It only matters whatcompetitors are the travelcreate a lot of value forgrowth, development, and your customer thinks. If youindustry, technology gadgets,your customers, but if youimprovement are optional cant fill your customersor unique experiences.Theycant be profitable withand totally dependent on you needs, you cant hope to bedont sell diamonds anda legitimate return onas an owner.Even if you have in business very long. Somejewelry. You do.And, so doinvestment of your preciousa winning strategy today, this people are going out ofcompetitors in your space. capital, then you really dontis no guarantee that it will be business today because itsCustomers usually havehave a good business.Manya winner tomorrow.One of time for the owners to retireseveral jewelry sellers fromjewelers are simply makingthe greatest risks, and threats, and there is no one in thewhich to choose, so you needwages, and not very bigfacing every jeweler today is family who wants to take over.to understand the competitivewages at that.A jewelerthat as the world and society But this can also be a cop-outlandscape and why you winwith more merchandise atchanges.If you will not or do because many retail jewelrybusiness or lose it.Here arecost than annual retail salesnot adapt with it to remain businesses today arenttwo more simple questions: is in trouble and in need ofrelevant, competitive, and worth taking over becauseHow do your competitorsa strategy to get out of thatprofitable the future will not there is no strategic plan tosolve customer needstrouble quickly. be kind.make a next generation storedifferently than you?successful and profitable. Again, I ask the question,What differentiates your What does your customerofferings from others in yourTo sum up, as customer tastes and needs change over time, want and how are youfield and community? and as technology provides compelling alternatives, new fulfilling their desires? If there is no true value-addedbusiness models emerge to wear away traditional businesses. or differentiator, then all youStrategy is not a word that most jewelers use often enough, are left with is to competebut they should. Review the questions in this message with on price.In other words, ayour staff and work on a strategy for continuous improvement. commodity, and we all knowIts the only way you will survive and thrive in the future.what that means.Bill BoyajianBill is the former long-time president of the Gemological Institute of America, and is currently founder & president of Bill Boyajian & Associates, Inc. His company consults for a wide variety of businesses in the gem and jewelry industry, specializing in leadership, business, and organizational development, family transition, and succession planning. Bill is the author of Developing the Mind of a LeaderYour Path to Lead and Inspire People. He is a sought-after business coach and speaker, and can be reached atbill@billboyajianassociates.com.12 | The Jewelry Business Magazine'