If 2020 has taught us anything it is that we must think strategically. If you look down at details without look at the horizon and considering options you may be blindsided. While no one could have anticipated 2020, there are “what if” scenarios that you can consider. Then you can develop strategies to deal with each.
A strategic plan will consider the business today, look into the future, and have the way set out to create the future. To remain successful a business must have that plan to be successful now and in the future. Here are some of the things I discuss when helping my Westchester, NY, clients with a strategic plan:
1. Make sure you know what business you are in. Whether you are in real estate, construction and contracting, graphic design, or consulting you must define what you provide to the customer. For example, as the pandemic hit and customers engages in new ways it was important for business to understand exactly what their were really delivering to their customers. Kodak should have realized that it was not in the film business but in the image and impression sharing business. In real estate are you selling houses or assisting buyers solving their living and working arrangements?
2. Get in front of change. The best way to this it to look into the future, understand the trends and how they affect your business and move yourself into them. Going forward people may prefer webinars to in person meetings. Getting your arms around the new technology and having a strategy to shift will keep you leading. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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. You also need to embrace new methods transmission and distribution.
5. Understand generational differences. Millennials now dominate the market. But different generations perceive needs differently, communicate differently, and engage with your business differently. Learn how you are connected to each generation. Are the things that engage one generation of no value to the next generation? Failure to understand that dynamic will result in increasingly lost revenue.
These steps are great starting points. If you have not done a strategic plan or updated yours in the last 3 years you should get it done. It is vital to your future success.
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