When asked what helped him become the great hockey player he was, Wayne Gretzky infamously replied, “I go where the puck is going to be.” Because of that simple philosophy, he would be at the right place at the right time; he’d get the puck and score. When he retired in 1999, Gretzky had scored 2857 career points. Not bad for just anticipating where the action is going to be.
That same practice is crucial for us in business. We've got to constantly ask ourselves, “Where are our customers going to be in six, nine, twelve, eighteen or more months? What do we need to do NOW to position ourselves to meet their future needs?”
If we start planning NOW to meet our customers’ future needs, who will they want to work with six, nine or twelve months from now? Us of course! We will have the products or services ready and available to meet their needs. We won't have to scramble to develop the products they want. We can provide what they need when they need it.
This simple strategy has another benefit. It “forces” us to constantly communicate with and monitor our customers. We need to regularly communicate with them to learn what THEIR forecasts are indicating. We need to watch THEIR industries. This tight communication pattern enables us to build strong relationships and partnerships with our customers. In times when so many other organizations can provide basically the same products or services we do, we've got to take advantage of EVERY opportunity to build a relationship with our customers. We need to help THEM grow their businesses. We all know, if we can help them grow – we'll help ourselves grow well.
So, it’s time to ask ourselves, “Where are our customers going to be in 12, 24, or 36 months from now and are we ready?”
Copyright MMII Liz Weber, CMC, CSP - Weber Business Services, LLC.