Why would you continue doing the same thing year after year? Over time things change, don’t they? I am sure that you have heard it said that what got you to where you are with not get you to where you want to go next. I am working with my Westchester County NY business owners on developing their future business plans. I urge every business owner to have a Strategic Business Plan.
A strategic plan will consider the business today, look into the future, and then plan to create the business’ future. To remain successful a business must have that plan now and in the future. Here are some of the things I discuss when helping my clients with a strategic plan:
- Make sure you know what business you are in. This is not about what products or services that you provide. How is the customer served? What need is being satisfied? The product successful in the past may not satisfy the need in the future. In that respect do not forget to take technology into consideration. Lately, I have noticed that people need to buy but malls are closing. Instead people are buying online. That is just one example. In real estate are you selling houses or assisting buyers in improving their lives?
- Get in front of change. This is what I mean about creating the future. Steve Jobs created the future when he created the iPhone. Think creatively and think out of the box. Be a disrupter before someone else. In my own business I have found that webinars have been more effective than in person meetings. Interactive online training has proven more effective in some companies than classroom training. Times are changing. There was a time when a digital camera was not an alternative to high quality film but by not leading that new technology, Kodak failed.
- Assess your business. Take inventory of where you have strengths in the market as well as where you are weak and vulnerable. Then use that information to look into the future to assess not just opportunities in your industry but also dangers and threats on the horizon. If you have done good business in an area where you know you are weak, and you see new external threats on the horizon you may want to move away from that offering. On the other hand, look at new opportunities where you can exploit your strengths.
- How do you communicate and market. The method and costs of marketing and communication have already changed drastically. Today, who looks to find something in the Yellow Pages? You need to embrace the new media. However, I caution you to evaluate and create a strategy first. Don’t simply follow the latest shiny new media application.
- Understand generational differences in customers and employees. Different generations have different needs, communicate differently, and engage with your business differently. If you are doing well serving one generation, learn why. Make sure you look at demographic trends. If you do well serving Baby Boomers, for example, will you have enough customers in the future? Discover the things that engage each generation. Do they still have value? Failure to understand that dynamic will result in increasingly lost revenue.
If you want to create the future don’t tweak things—transform your business. Do your plan today.
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