In 2008, when the world was going crazy, understanding our market and asking the right questions first, helped me take a business from PBT of 480 million to 1.3 billion (one of Barclay's acquisitions).
The thing to do first I find is not to focus on the answers, but on some very simpile questions, which will drive complexity soon enough. This is true of B2C or B2B, and we will build on this with the traditonal strategic methodologies.
1) what is your business great at? without even thinking of your competition yet, what can your business do exceptionally well?
2) now, what can you do better, cheaper, quicker, newer, sexier (whatever it is) ...so that you stand out from the competition, uniquely? as a mental aid, if I was to google your business, what combination of words would get you top of the ranking, consistently? think of this Volvo is a car, but it owns the word safety. what words must you own or do you own?
3) what defines the different types of customers in the market you want to serve and dominate? what are the characteristics that define the segments of the market?
4) what is the reason that customers will want to use your product or service? what problem are you solving? how are you making their lives easier, better, whatever (avoid competing on price, niche markets obviously exclude this!)
5) next you have to understand your position in the competitve landscape, what external forces will you have to deal with? New tech, New Regulations, New Entrants, Powerful Encumbants, Easy substitutes etc?
6) now you need to go back and check, and really understand. How will you make money? this is an easy question with a non trivial answer. ask your colleagues these two simple questions. 1) if you invest a single dollar into the business, what will it be turned into when it goes through the economic engine, and finally reconverted into cash in the hand? and VERY IMPORTANTLY, how long will that single dollar be tied up within the business before it is converted into cash again?
Now you may think this is stupid, but it always gets ignored. Would you prefer to have a dollar turned into $1.50 over the course of a year, or would you rather have a business where a dollar, gets turned into a mere $1.10, however it only takes a month? Do you see how the same $ can be reused 12 times? This is a compound effect.
I have all of this explained on my website, with everything you need to answer your questions. It's free, and once you have some concrete thoughts, I can help you if you wish. This is the site: http://www.spark-sme-services.co.za/ navigate to the toolset, and chose the relevant sections. I would suggest Strategy, and Value Management first. In here you will find tutorials, worked exmaples and key questions?
There's a lot more to it, but this will get you started off, the site will help and I willm help you fill in the gaps if you need.