Articles tagged "Strategic Plan"
Two prospective strategic planning clients reached out to me this past week. Both organizations have a new CEO, at least two new board members each, at least two new senior staff members each, and both were requesting information on how I might facilitate their plan development during a two-day board retreat. It became quickly apparent, both CEOs were simply approaching their outreach to me as somewhat of a checklist item from their board:
The COVID pandemic has changed not only how and where we work, it’s also changed our priorities and perspectives. What used to be a typical day at the office, has become an extended day of jumping between working remotely, home schooling our kids, serving as on-site technical support for our kids and as remote support for our parents, all while monitoring the status of our grocery delivery to ensure the doorbell doesn’t announce its arrival during a virtual client meeting. What used to be a typical day at the office, has become an extended day of jumping between working remotely, home schooling our kids, serving as on-site technical support for our kids and as remote support for our parents, all while monitoring the status of our grocery delivery to ensure the doorbell doesn’t announce its arrival during a virtual client meeting. We are now finding that what used to matter has changed. What we used to have under control, we don’t. What we used to know as givens, are not. And, what used to be typical 3 to 5 to 10+ year strategic planning, has become 12 to 18+ month strategic planning.
The calendar year is off to a great start. Sales are coming in faster than expected. Revenues are exceeding last year’s numbers, and the production schedule is full with the need for extended over-time becoming more of the norm than the exception. You must be doing things right. Right?
Maybe. But then again, maybe not. You could be riding an economic wave that is simply pulling you along for the ride. As a leadership team, if you don’t know why you’re experiencing the success – or challenges – you’re currently experiencing, you’re not doing your job. It’s time to regroup and understand why. It’s time for a first quarter leadership strategy session.
I heard Greg Caruso of Successful Exits share a story recently that I found valuable for my clients because of its simplicity and truth. When he was young, Greg loved to fish. When he grew older, life got in the way until one day he made a conscientious decision to restart his childhood hobby. He started fishing again in his favorite pond. However, now as an adult, he didn't seem to be as lucky. He caught very few fish. One day, as he was unloading his car after another disappointing day, his elderly neighbor returned home from fishing. Greg’s neighbor unloaded his truck and had a cooler filled with fish. Greg asked the man how he was able to catch so many fish. “Well,” replied the neighbor, “I only fish in ponds where the fish are.”
This simple tale struck a chord with me, because I've heard some of my new clients bemoan the fact that their sales are dwindling or they’re off from last year’s numbers. Others are frustrated because competitors seem to be thriving, while they're struggling. What should they do?
Why not fish in ponds where the fish are instead of fishing where you’ve always fished?
This is easy to say and hard to do. I know. I've been there. It’s hard to accept the fact that the customer group that had been the bread and butter of your business is no longer the right target market for you. Even though you've had great relationships with them, you’ve shown mutual loyalty, and you've helped each other grow and succeed, things have changed. They no longer need or can support your products and services.
It’s time to go fishing.
You need to realistically – and quickly – look elsewhere to find new opportunities. It’s time to stop – immediately – reminiscing about how great things used to be. It’s time to start – immediately – looking at your industry and identifying what market segments in it are hot and which ones are “biting.” Next look at why they’re hot. What is propelling their growth? What economic, cultural, political, gender, etc. issues are feeding this market – and why? Now ask, “How might our current products and services help them continue their growth?” “How might we modify our products to better fit these markets’ current – AND future needs?” When we start asking these types of questions, we start seeing opportunities instead of stagnating markets; we see ponds of new fish, instead of ponds without.
If you’re continuing to pound away at your traditional target markets with limited results, why do you continue?
Why – as the saying goes – are you doing things the same and expecting things to change? Accept the fact that your traditional market isn’t right for you anymore. It may be right for another business, but not yours. It’s time to move on. It’s time to identify the markets that will provide sufficient opportunities to allow you to achieve the level of success you deserve.
It’s time to fish in the right ponds.
Copyright MMV - Liz Weber, CMC, CSP - Weber Business Services, LLC – www.WBSLLC.com +1.717.597.8890
Liz supports clients with strategic and succession planning, as well as leadership training and executive coaching. Learn more about me on LinkedIn!
I've just started working with a client who desperately needs to increase sales. His company hired a new sales representative over a month ago. Together they identified key current customers to visit and penetrate further. They decided to focus on this group first, then they'd focus on getting new customers – a smart approach.