The term beachhead strategy is coined from a military strategy that advocates that as you advance into enemy territory, you plan and focus all your time and resources on winning a small strategic border area which then becomes the stronghold from which to advance into the territory. That small strategic border area is the beachhead. It was also a word that was made popular by Geoffrey Moore in his book “Crossing The Chasm”.
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When entering a new market, it is critical to have a beachhead strategy. However, it is also critical that you plan for the bigger invasion – the big picture called the brand strategy. Most startups either have a stand alone beachhead strategy or they have an ambitious and often unrealistic looking larger plan for dominating the market segment. Most startups either have a stand alone beachhead strategy or they have an ambitious and often unrealistic looking larger plan for dominating the market segment.
Both these approaches by themselves are too risky. But a combination will yield great results as shown by some of the leading brands such as.
This is true for any kind of startup – even a non-profit organization. Recently I was the lead strategist on a charity venture project where the client had a grand vision of where the organization should be and how it could change the world. However what they lacked was the path to getting there. I created a beachhead strategy and combined it with a robust brand vision to create an overall brand strategy that would ensure the venture reaches it’s potential.
To continue the case of this non-profit venture, the beachhead strategy involved coming up with a series of corporate sponsorship programs that would create a platform on which to build the drive to attract the general public to get involve and donate to the charity. Putting it like that, it may not appear to be a game changing strategy and perhaps might look a little obvious.
[tweet_box]Entrepreneurs are always attracted to the wrong strategy or tactic; much like moths to a lightbulb.[/tweet_box]
But that is what happens with startups all the time – the obvious is never done! Entrepreneurs are always attracted to the wrong strategy or tactic; much like moths to a lightbulb. More often than not, we see time, resources and money poured into ineffective strategies that may make the stake holders feel great but do nothing for the startup and the bottomline.
If you are trying to launch a clothing or fashion startup. Then stop looking at what industry trend setters such as Net-A-Porter or American Apparel is doing and instead focus on a beachhead strategy that would allow you a small but strong foothold into the market from which to launch your next wave of invasion. If you plan to sell bespoke tailored shirts that fit perfectly then stop focusing on trying to sell the shirts to everybody and instead create an exclusive club with invite only entry.
If you are planning on launching an app that helps writers, then stop trying to sell the app to all writers and instead focus on a single writer persona that you can easily reach. This buyer persona may be a very tiny fraction of the market but it may be one that enables you start building a tribe!
These examples may be quite vague but I am simply trying to illustrate the importance of a beachhead strategy and not actually offering strategies that you can implement in your startup. That may for a different series of articles that I will do down the line.
Let me know your thoughts on beachhead strategy and share your story if you have seen success with such strategies.