“Change has never happened this fast before, and it will never be this slow again.” — Graeme Wood, Journalist
Business leaders agree that the demands of running a business today are more complex and are changing more rapidly than ever before. The collective impact of technological innovation, new competitors, heightened customer expectations, new ways of working, margin pressures, and a continually evolving regulatory environment poses a significant challenge to business leaders. So how do successful businesses today ensure they continue to “renew” themselves and avoid the risk of decline?
It has been said that “failing to plan is planning to fail.” This is especially true in today’s business climate. Successful entrepreneurs and business leaders must typically consider three important questions:
- Where is my business now?
- Where do I want to take it?
- What do I need to do to take it there?
These are important questions and to build on these, developing an executable strategic business plan that will enable a business to experience renewal, should focus on six priority areas that are essential to sustainable growth. These 6 priority areas are:
- Leadership & Governance
- Finance & Owner Wealth Management
- Product/Service Delivery
Each of these areas is highly dependent upon the others, and a well-designed strategic business plan considers and provides for these inter-relationships. For example, while sales growth from new and existing customers is essential, how does it impact the other areas? Among the potential questions are:
- Will new team members be needed to sell and service new customers?
- What additional working capital will be required to fund the anticipated growth in sales?
- Can we accomplish the desired sales growth with existing products/services? Or do we need to develop innovative new offerings?
- Can we accomplish the new sales volume organically? Or should we explore a merger or acquisition?
- Does our existing supply chain have the capacity and capability to handle the anticipated increase in sales volume?
As part of evaluating these six priority areas and their inter-relationships it is very important to anticipate market and competitive changes that will impact your business and factor those into the strategic plans for the future. Ask yourself these questions:
- What emerging technologies will disrupt the way my industry does business?
- Will I be able to lead with those changes or will newer companies & competitors impact the existing business/status quo?
- What will be the impact of government or regulatory changes, if any?
- Do I need to develop new partnerships or distribution channels to reflect the way that customers will purchase my goods/services?
In future articles, I will look at each of the six priority areas in more detail so that you may think more intentionally about the future strategy you will adopt to ensure continued innovation and the renewal of the business you have worked so hard to build.