Strategic Analysis and Competitive Positioning

by Patrick Macdonald
access120 days access
cpd hours4 CPD hours

This course will enable you to:

  • Understand external and internal factors when putting together your business strategy
  • Determine your competitive position
  • Recognise where you’d like to move your business and how to get there
  • Assess the impact of your strategy – the time or cost required, the resources available to you and the risks
  • Create a strategic action plan for your business and begin to implement it

How does a business win customers, beat its competitors, make a profit and grow? These questions are fundamental to business success. But can you – or your clients – answer them? Strategic Analysis and Competitive Positioning gives you the tools you'll need to build enduring competitive advantage and develop a solid strategic plan. When you've finished working through the course you'll have the basis of your strategic plan.

This high level course covers the strategic planning process for a business from start to finish, including an understanding of business lifecycles and industry consolidation. You'll explore the external factors that matter when you're putting together a business strategy, including sector attractiveness, sources of competitive advantage and differentiation.

Getting started

  • What is the strategic planning process?
  • What is the "outside-in" approach?
  • What is the quick method?
  • What is the business lifecycle?
  • What are the benefits of industry consolidation?

Where you are: external

  • How attractive is your sector?
  • What is the "five forces" model?
  • How can you gain a competitive advantage?
  • What is customer segmentation?
  • What is the importance of scale?
  • How can differentiation and cost advantage be used?

Where you are: internal

  • What is the value chain?
  • Why should you analyse the value chain?
  • What is outsourcing?
  • How does your cost structure compare with competitors'?
  • What is a competitive position?
  • How can you integrate your work?

Where you want to be and how to get there

  • Where is the source of your ideas?
  • How do value disciplines help businesses win?
  • How can you shift your competitive position?
  • How can you use the impact-effort matrix to prioritise?
  • How can you use the risk-return matrix to prioritise?

Turning ideas into action

  • How do you pull together your sources?
  • How do you scenario plan?
  • How do you present a strategy?
  • What is SWOT analysis?
  • How do you prepare for scrutiny?
  • What's the action plan?
  • What are the next steps?

Patrick Macdonald is a Co-Founder and Partner at the School for CEOs, a new approach to executive education. He has 30 years' experience in business. Starting his professional career at the Royal Corps of Naval Constructors. Patrick then worked for The Boston Consulting Group in Germany and the UK. In 2003 Patrick became CEO of John Menzies plc where he doubled profitability. Subsequently he has worked in private equity. In 2009 Patrick joined Reconomy a waste recycling and construction business as CEO, where he is now Chairman.

Patrick holds a first class honours degree in Engineering Science from Oxford University and gained an MBA with Distinction at INSEAD in 1992. He is a Chartered Engineer, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a Companion of the Chartered Management Institute. He is also a Sainsbury Management Fellow.

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ACCA partner with to provide high quality CPD for members. As an ACCA member, you are required to complete at least 40 relevant units of CPD each year, where one unit is equal to one hour. 21 units must be verifiable; the other 19 can be non-verifiable.

Verifiable CPD
Your course counts as verifiable CPD, if you can answer "yes" to these questions:

  1. Was the learning activity relevant to your career?
  2. Can you explain how you will apply the learning in the workplace?

You select courses that meet these criteria, and as you complete each course you get a CPD certificate so you can provide ACCA with the evidence that you undertook the learning activity.

  1. Laura M
    Posted 23-May-2018 at
    A very comprehensive course, coherent, cursive, complete with references to most important reading on the subject and real life examples. On top of this, it is delightfully presented. I read each and every line with great pleasure. One of the best courses I found here.
  2. Anna marie W
    Posted 07-Jun-2017 at
    Excellent guidance and thought process in fully understanding your operating environment and the key elements of building a robust strategic plan.
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