A Bird's Eye View can change EVERYTHING
“Plans are worthless, but planning is everything” Dwight D. Eisenhower
The Art of business planning is an ongoing exploration of possibilities, and from my side of the desk, I see opportunity where others may see a problem.
The process of planning places you on a perch, a bird's eye view, scanning your business for weaknesses, and threats. Weaknesses that live inside your domain, and areas that require a little (or a lot) of attention, tweaking, or adjusting. There is always room for improvement. Have your marketing initiatives given you the returns you’d hope for, or targets you wrote down on the white board during you last sales and marketing meeting?
Threats are external. They can come from anywhere, and appear without warning. I neglected to run a risk analysis in my first business and lost 80% of my customers to big box stores, and it happened quickly. Once they stocked similar products at buying power prices, that was it for our line of recycled stationery.
Threats can come from astute competitors, adapting to the shifting markets as the economy adjusts across the country. For those who stay tuned into the market, trends, and what’s going on in their own industry, they are always miles ahead of their complacent competition. Which side are you on?
Doing a simple audit on a regular basis keeps your engines running.
Here is an exercise. Sit on the perch (remove yourself from the day to day tactics) and think about your business and your customers. Answer these Five W’s on a regular basis and you will keep the cob webs from building up.
Who are we, and what do we stand for, and against?
Who are we serving?
What do we want? What do we want to serve?
Where are we going? Where are our customers?
When are we reaching out? When do our customers purchase?
Why are we doing what we are doing? Why should our customers buy from us?
Planning is like going on a treasure hunt; when you go through the process, you may just find a simple answer to that problem / opportunity. Get on your perch, and look around, the change in perspective will do your business good.