One goal of effective strategic planning is to identify an area or areas in which your company can identify and leverage to give you a competitive advantage looking into markets. As a result, you can deliver incremental value to your ideal customers and extract incremental profits to fuel future innovations and additional or new competitive advantage.
As you consider the following questions around your offerings and markets, you will want to have assessed the competitive forces you face.
Building Focus with a Strategic Growth Vision
- Who are the competitive rivals we face and what are their advantages and weaknesses? How well have we positioned and/or differentiated ourselves against them?
- What untapped advantage could we get from our vendor relationships?
- What is the leverage that our buyers have with us, and how or what markets can we go into, to mitigate unhealthy buyer leverage?
- Is there a threat of new alternatives or new competition, and are we in anyway encouraging it with pricing that may be out of line or market share that is too low or too high?
Use these discussion points to help you improve results through a more focused planning process.
Examine Current Results
- What are the current results of products? In other words, how can we prioritize our current products based on what gives us our best return?
- What are our best markets? In what areas do we have the healthiest profits, least competition and thus a greater return? How do we prioritize our markets?
- Rank your products and markets and discuss why they fall into such a priority.
- What modifications to our products could best enable us to continue to win new customers and/or retain existing customers?
- What extensions to our current markets would enable us to best capture the healthiest growth?
- What markets could be penetrated more deeply without undue efforts?
- How do we prioritize the modifications in product and extensions in markets as to which will give us the greatest return on the investment of our resources?
Prioritize Future Business
- What is the scope of products or specific products that potentially should be abandoned?
- What is the scope of markets or specific markets/customers that potentially should be abandoned?
- What are the areas of new products that we should consider advancing?
- What are the new market areas into which we should consider advancing?
- What is the future emphasis or priority and mix for products and markets that fall within that scope?
Resource Alignment and Building
- What, if any, new capabilities are required to make this strategic vision happen?
- What capabilities must be developed to execute on these priorities?
- What does this vision imply for our growth and return expectations?
- Based on this growth vision, what can we expect our return and growth to be?
From the above discussions a set of priority growth levers will emerge. These levers can be both measurable objectives as well as directives. Often a company will have a lot of untapped positioning potential. In other words, your marketing and sales efforts when using your positioning levers become much more effective because you’re differentiating yourself more effectively with your ideal customers.
About Mark Faust
Each Tuesday, turnaround consultant Mark Faust will be sharing his expertise on how to turn around your small business. His blogs will be filled with practical insights and basic turnaround strategies designed to guide you through crisis leadership and change management. You'll be able to tap into tips on everything from profitability issues, business continuity plans and pandemic pivots to operational processes, marketing and customers additional value.
As one of the companies he helped grow, we know first hand how inspiring his leadership is and just how well it works! Mark has also agreed to make his best-selling book ‘Growth or Bust’ available, free of charge, to any small business to help them create their own effective turnaround plan. We’ll be sharing that with you soon.
You can learn more about Mark and his company, Echelon Management, by clicking here.
Looking for more small business help?
At InspireHUB, we’ve been blessed with a network that includes some of the foremost leaders in the world. A few years ago, we had the pleasure of meeting Mark Faust. Mark has over thirty years of experience in helping companies turn around through his company Echelon Management International. The brands he’s helped include John Deere, Apple, Bayer, IBM and P&G. He also helped me personally and professionally with InspireHUB as we morphed to become the company we are today.
His insight and expertise are invaluable, but realistically, the majority of small businesses would never get access to a “Mark” due to the size of their budget. Having someone like Mark literally can be a life-saving exercise for any size business. What impressed me the most about the work Mark and I did together was the bulk of it was not business tactics and strategy; it was about myself as a leader. Understanding what motivated me, where I found my hope, what would INSPIRE me to wake up every day and work on this business.
Here's how Mark helped transform InspireHUB and how he's going to do the same for YOUR small business ...
Angela Lee Duckworth, Ph.D., is featured in a popular Ted Talk wherein she reports her findings around a quality that is one of your greatest determining factors to success. It is a four-letter character trait that John Wayne popularized in a classic movie: “Grit.”
Grit is defined as: “Perseverance and passion for long-term goals.”
On a scale of 1 to 100 how would you rate your passion and determination to accomplish your long-term goals? How would you rate your overall organization’s passion and determination to accomplish long-term goals? These are your Grit Ratings, and if you’re like a typical leader, your Grit Rating as a leader is likely higher than your organization’s. This is where you have a dissonance that, if corrected, can improve your organization’s performance.
Here is how GRIT is used as an Acronym.