Monday, June 13, 2011 | 9:30 a.m.
Your business is humming along. You’ve survived the initial shock of the recession and you have made the adjustments to keep your business moving forward. So, what’s next?
First, if your business is running well and you’ve made the necessary adjustments--congratulations, you’ve done well! And now is the perfect time to check in with your vision and strategic business plan. Here are steps to consider:
Question. Ask yourself what has worked for your business pre-recession as well as over the past three years. What is your core offer? Is this core offer still relevant? Can it, or should it, change?
This line of questioning will help you determine the things that matter to your clients. I suggest that you ask your clients as well. If you have been serving your clients well, they should be glad to help you. Ask your clients what you have done well, what you could improve, and if there are other services they would consider buying from your firm. Are there other needs that you could fill for your clients? One of the keys to continual improvement is the ability to constantly question your value proposition and how your work is received by your clients. Then you can make meaningful and informed enhancements or changes to your work.
Plan. Once you have been able to answer the above questions and have received feedback from your clients, it is time to update your strategic plan. Start with the big picture. What do you want to accomplish with your business, both long-term (10 years) and short-term (1-5 years)? Developing this vision is essential for you to chart the next course of action for your firm. I’ve found it best to involve others in the firm to propose new ideas and direction. This will help you identify diverse ideas and the possible to achieve them. This vision must be crafted so that it is authentic, inspiring, and understandable, and not just to the group who is leading the charge, but for the company and its employees as well.
Execute. Questioning and planning are important. But the most important step in this process is implementing and executing your plan. Unfortunately, too many firms fall short when it comes to implementing their well-thought plans. I understand. It is difficult to stay focused on implementing the steps of the plan and keeping every other ball in the air. But remember you’ve come through harder times than this...you can do it!
Firms like yours; that have stayed successful, especially during the past few years, have staying power. This staying power is the result of their ability to continuously improve, chart new direction, and execute flawlessly. These firms are comfortable asking: what’s next?
Until next time…