One of my favorite historical figures is Benjamin Franklin. I’d argue he is the master of Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS). All throughout his life he shared wisdom, much of which remains sound to this day. For instance, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Totally simple; plan things out, otherwise you’ll wind up paying for it in the future. One of the best ways to plan is understanding the lifeblood of your business – your clientele.
Organizational success is rooted in evolution (hey, they don’t mass produce buggy whips anymore for a reason.) Times change, and so do people. To keep ahead of the curve, it’s important to include customers in your Strategic Planning process. Incorporating customer perspectives helps you understand what they want, what they don’t, and what they’re willing to ‘pay for.’ This information provides direction, tools to evaluate progress, and accountability to deliver results.
When developing your 2016 Strategic Plan, here are a few items to consider.
- Revenue Growth: Where are the hidden opportunities? How will you leverage them? What does success look like?
- Talent Acquisition and Development: Where do you want your organization to be in two years? What kind of talent will you need to get it there? How much should you pay them?
- Increasing Profit: Where can you create efficiencies? Should you increase prices? Is it time to renegotiate with suppliers?
- Marketing and Customer Development: How do your ‘ideal’ customers prefer to be engaged? What type of messaging encourages them to buy? How much are they willing to spend?
- Innovation: What’s the ‘next big thing’ in your industry? What’s your competitive advantage? What new product or service can increase your bottom-line?
Start to make your assumptions about these questions then get out there and talk to people. When you’ve stopped learning interesting things from these conversations, you’re ready to build a plan for growth and success.