Rick Meekins is the Managing Partner at Aepiphanni, a Business Consultancy, an Atlanta, GA based small business consultancy that provides Management Consulting, Implementation and Managed Services to business leaders and entrepreneurs seeking to improve or expand operations.
What?? I Didn’t Plan for That!! | Extraordinary Business
Making sure that the strategy you spent hours and dollars on is paying off!
Three months ago, people traditionally created New Years Resolutions. As business leaders, we talked about what we wanted to do differently this year (2013) and how we were going to get there. Some of us even ventured to write it down and made a plan, perhaps drawn from an existing or newly minted strategic plan.
The problem with planning, sometimes, is that some of things we plan for don’t happen. The brilliant assistant or other employees we envisioned hiring haven’t materialized with the proper combination of skills, experiences and compensation needs. For many business owners, the first quarter didn’t kick off as planned – lots of inquiries, very few people actually pulling the trigger, if you will. New tax laws and impending changes in the health care industry have created a ripple effect across the country and the globe.
I guess this is a good time to throw out the plan and start over.
Probably not the best idea. Years and years ago, when families shared bath water, one had to be careful because by the time the last child got in the bathtub, the water was a bit murky, making it difficult for the person dumping the water to see there was a baby in the bathwater. One never wants to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
Therefore, as things change in the marketplace, as business leaders, we need to see how these changes impact the plan. Unless, of course, you were banking on the resurgence of CD’s.
Here is a way that you can review your plan and make the necessary changes in order to continue to reach your company goals:
- Start with your overarching strategy. Keep in mind that your strategy is not your plan. It is how you will leverage your company’s resources to get strategic advantage in the marketplace.
- Make sure that your strategy is broken down into functional areas. You might look at Marketing, Sales, Product/Service Delivery, IT, Finance, Business Model and Customer Value Chain, etc. You will be challenged if you attempt to look at the whole business at once. All of these components do affect one another, but by look at each component, you will be better able to focus on how each is impacted by the changes.
- Look for the changes. Use a STEP model; it is one way (amongst others) you can evaluate them – essentially determining if the changes create an opportunity or pose a threat
- Society – The way people think, act or spend
- Technology – Advances – not just in IT – that impact your business
- Economy – think about the local and macro economy
- Political – how is public policy (think Health Care Reform) impacted your business
- Ask questions. You only know what you know. If you don’t know what questions to ask, you may jump to the wrong conclusion and make a mistake. Or make a fool out of yourself.
- Decide what you can do about it. Are there opportunities that it makes sense to pursue? Are there threats that you can protect yourself from?
- Look at what the changes look like altogether and adjust your strategy.
- Adjust your plan. Think of your plan as the set of steps you will take to accomplish some part of the strategy.
Nine times out of ten, the plan that you started out the year with won’t be obsolete. By staying abreast of changes in the marketplace, you can keep your focus on building an extraordinary business. Moving forward must be an ongoing mind-set.
Aepiphanni Business Consulting: The Business Strategy People is an Atlanta, Georgia based Operations Management and Business Strategy Consulting Firm dedicated to serving the needs of small to medium sized business leaders. We help business leaders DESIGN | CREATE | BUILD extraordinary businesses. We support our clients with financial management, product and service production and delivery, outsourced services management, sales & marketing and business growth. We provide them with a number of flexible solutions to help them reach their goals.
Join us for a Coffee & a Consult, to learn more about Aepiphanni and how we might help you move your company from existing to extraordinary.