EM|Upper-Int|1. Business strategy


Let’s get acquainted! Here are Emma, Max and John. They have different jobs, but they know a lot about management. Today, they are discussing business strategies.

Read the conversation and complete the sentence

Emma John Max

E: What is a business strategy? I understand it as the course of action or set of decisions which help managers to achieve specific business objectives.

J: I think it’s a combination of proactive actions on the part of management to secure a position in the market, please customers and achieve the goals of the company.

M: For me, it is the long-range sketch of the desired image, direction and destination of the organisation.

In your own words, explain what a business strategy is

Today, we’re going to find out what a business strategy really is.


To create a proper business strategy, one needs a strategic plan. It is a document that shapes the specific activities you’ll undertake to overcome the challenges you face on the way to your goals.

Choose the correct options

In fact, all of the answers are correct!

Let’s find out more about the components of a strategic plan.

Complete the definitions by choosing the correct options


Let’s have a look at the example of Starbucks to understand the key components of a strategic plan better!

Match the halves to read about the strategic plan of Starbucks


While a company can be creative in defining its mission and vision, there is a limited number of tactics (or marketing strategies) they can choose from. A right strategy which fits the mission and vision of a company is the key to success. Let’s have a look at some of these strategies!

Do the tasks

10 Marketing strategies

Listen to Emma describing the most common strategies and put them in the order in which they are mentioned

The first, and the pretty straightforward thing you can do, is to grow revenues from new products. Plenty of leaders have great confidence in their ability to develop innovations. They invest in the research and development process and later find it hard to reap from their spending. As selling new products requires greater intensity and consumes much more attention, this strategy might bring about a necessity to support salespeople in rising to the challenge.

Alternatively, you might want to plunge into creating technological advance. Technology is always evolving, with new solutions constantly emerging to tackle problems and eliminate inefficiencies. A means to an end here is to speed up the workflow, giving your employees the advantage: time for focusing on the important work.

Likewise, launching the most innovative product or service may be a smart and powerful strategy. Although there’s often a desire to stick with current technology and processes rather than rocking the boat. It is needless to say that the strategy of developing cutting-edge products requires a great deal of investment to really distinguish your company.

There might be cheaper and simpler ways to stand out from the crowd. Differentiate products by highlighting the qualities that set one product apart from others. This might mean better technology, features, pricing or styling.

Equally important is the strategy of cross-selling. It invites customers to buy related or complementary items. By increasing the amount of product sold per customer, you can boost the average cart size. Even a small increase in cart size can have a significant impact on profitability, without having to spend money to acquire more new customers.

On the other hand, we may look at it from the perspective of money. Once your product is ready to sell, you would want to decide how much to charge for it. Here, your pricing strategy does not simply derive from calculating your costs and adding a mark-up, it is more about value and it affects your profit margins. For companies that choose to price their products beyond the reach of ordinary customers, it is a matter of maintaining the exclusivity of their products. The trick of the trade might be as well in cornering a young market. This is a common strategy used today to gain an advantage in a new or rapidly growing market. It might mean the acquisition of a new company by a larger one, entering an unknown area, or carving a niche.

Another strategy that has become popular recently is sustainability. This strategy helps to earn money by doing good in the world (for example, by implementing a recycling program and thus reducing energy costs or decreasing your company’s footprint).

Finally, we may improve customer service. This is particularly acute if your business has had a problem delivering quality customer service. Customers are the core of every business and should always be your top priority. Happy customers can help you to build a strong reputation.

And last but not least is improving customer retention. It is even more alluring than acquiring new customers because it results in higher revenues. The strategy includes different ways to retain your customers from leveraging convenience to personalization techniques.

All the strategies that I have described are just elements of one big strategy puzzle, which may lead your business to a new level of success.

Match each strategy with the situation in which it can be used

Useful words and phrases

Let’s have a look at some useful words and phrases from the audio!

Choose the correct options to complete the definitions

Fill in the gaps with the given words and phrases


Max, Emma and John’s colleagues from the finance department asked them to help make a report about the most famous companies and the strategies they use. Let’s have a look at the report!

  • Growing revenues from new products — You want to research and develop new products.
  • Implementing technological advances — You want to acquire employees with unique skills.
  • Launching an innovative product or service — You want to create modern, trendy products.
  • Differentiating your product — You want to have superior features, pricing, etc.
  • Cross-selling — You want to sell more products to the same customer.
  • Pricing correctly — You want to keep prices low or high to attract customers.
  • Cornering a young market — You want to gain an advantage in a new market.
  • Implementing sustainability — You want to decrease the company’s footprint.
  • Improving customer service — You want to deliver exceptional customer service.
  • Improving customer retention — You want to retain your customers.

Complete the report with the correct strategies

Give examples of implementing the following tactics. Search for the information on the Internet, if necessary


Read the strategic plan and guess what company it belongs to

It’s Tesla!

Marketing strategies, measurements and funding streams are rather fixed points in any business strategic plan. They are strategic tools that are chosen from a range of verified efficient business instruments, and their choice depends on the mission, vision and core values each company decides upon for itself. That’s why it’s important to be able to speculate on what lies behind these three pillars of a business strategic plan.

Now you’ve got a unique chance to think about the three pillars of Tesla.

Write your explanation of the message behind each point of Tesla’s strategic plan


Now it’s your turn to draft a strategic plan.

Read the task and prepare your 2-minute speech

1. acquire

2. cutting-edge

3. differentiate

4. profit margin

5. retain

6. footprint

7. sustainability

  • to corner a young market
  • to gain an advantage
  • beyond the reach of

Allow your browser access to your microphone, press the button «Record» and record the speech you have prepared


Choose the correct statements

1. acquire

2. cutting-edge

3. differentiate

4. profit margin

5. retain

6. footprint

7. sustainability

  • to corner a young market
  • to gain an advantage
  • beyond the reach of

Урок Homework Курс
  • What is a strategy?
  • What is a strategic plan?
  • The Starbucks example
  • 10 tactics
  • Famous companies
  • Guess the company
  • Draft a strategy
  • Assess your progress