Strategic circles
Big Business
Strategic circles

Strategic circles
A matrix to help you consider your relationship to others in your field/market

The big idea

While enterprises in all sectors understand the need to develop their strategies, what that means in practice is often elusive. This approach encourages you to focus first and foremost on the wants and/or needs of your customers, users or beneficiaries. Then, still keeping the customer’s perspective, you look at what your business offers and finally you look at your competitor’s offer.


The purpose of the strategic circles (Urbany & Davis, 2007)approach is to provide a visual tool to help you think about what you offer, what you customers want and what your competitors offer. In a simple diagram, you can identify your competitive strategy and test some of your assumptions about how the sector or market you work in operates. Your analysis will show you:

  • The extent to which your offer and those of your competitors meet customer needs or wants
  • An overview of any areas of duplication
  • Areas of unmet customer needs or wants
  • Areas of potential collaboration

The Tool

The tool takes you through creating your competitive strategy. It can be done on your own or with a group. It is suitable for any business that is concerned about its strategic position. You should allow two to three hours to work through the process in detail.