Strategy vs. tactic vs. tool

by Michele on May 29, 2013

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post called “Facebook” is not a strategy.  In that post, I described how people often confuse the tool (Facebook) with the strategy (what

Solopreneurs will have more success using the right tools for their strategies

Solopreneurs use strategy, tactics and tools to be successful

you are trying to accomplish using that tool).  In this post, I’m going to explain more about the differences between strategies, tactics and tools.

A strategy is a way of achieving a big, over-arching goal.  Ultimately, all strategies are designed to increase sales and profits but there are numerous steps leading up to sales and profits.  A tactic is a way of getting to that goal.  A tool is something you use to execute that strategy.

For example, suppose a solopreneur business owner has an offer on their site that converts pretty well.  Conversion refers to the number of people who buy vs. the number of people who saw the offer.  One strategy to increase sales is to get more people on the page to view the offer.  The business owner has numerous tactics at his or her disposal to do this.  She could improve her search engine rankings so more people find her through search.  He might use social media to encourage people to click through to see the offer.  She might distribute coupons to get people looking at the offer.  There are many more tactics the business owner could use as well.

Each of these tactics has tools the solopreneur business owner could use to make it happen.  In the  social media example above, the tools are the various sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.  Also included in the tools would be social media management sites such as Hootsuite or Tweetdeck.  In the coupon example above, the business owner could put web coupons on coupon sites the relevant audience visits, have colleagues promote the coupon, hand them out in real life, post them on social media, etc.  There are numerous ways or tools to get coupons in the hands of interested people so they can view the offer.

Of course there is some overlap in these 3 ideas of strategy, tactic and tool.  The important point is not to confuse the tool or tactic with what you are trying to accomplish using that tool or tactic.  You can expend huge amounts of energy doing, doing, doing all sorts of tasks but without a strategy those tasks are unlikely to produce results.  The starting point for any activity in your business should be what you hope that activity does for your business.

How do you use and manage strategy in your business?  Tell me about it in the comments.


  1. Eldon Terry says:

    By following a process of determining a goal, then a strategy, then an plan with tools, you’ll be more effective and efficient in reaching your business goals. And online tools won’t feel like a waste of time and resources.

    1. Michele says:

      I agree with the order you’ve laid out Eldon. It’s easy to get sidetracked with all the cool tools available, but in reality it’s important to start with a goal and use the tools to reach that goal.

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