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For Small Business Owners and Leaders
Congrats! You did it! You checked that “customer feedback” item off your to-do list. (But I truly hope that your customer feedback efforts are SO much more than that!) One question we hear is “What happens now? What do we do with what we learned?” Way too often organizations think that once the survey is closed and they have looked at the findings the process is over. But there are is so much more to do that can positively impact your customer relationships. Here are som tips for helping you take those all-important next steps.
What causes hesitation about developing a strategic plan? There are a number of reasons (excuses?) put forth, but one of the main ones we hear is that plans are just a lot of words. It will get put on a shelf somewhere and not make any concrete difference in their business. Well, like anything else, it depends on your intentions and it depends on your willingness to allow your plan to do what they are designed to do – serve as a guide to your future. Your strategic plan should have an observable, tangible impact on your business. Here are some ideas for how to make your plan tangible.
Perhaps the most difficult part of the strategic plan is changing your mindset. It’s not just about the things you will DO to achieve your strategic goals; but also maybe more importantly the things you STOP doing. If we truly want to put on a new face and achieve that big, bold set of strategic goals, the way we’ve done things before often just won’t work anymore. We need to allow ourselves to STOP doing what we often need to think about something new.
This post shares some ideas to consider as you plan and implement your strategic change.
Many organizations say they want to grow, but their actions show something different. There are a number of things that seem to be getting in the way of their growth. It’s important for you as a business leader be honest with yourself and identify if any of these (or more than one) might be a roadblock getting in the way of your business’s growth. This post will look at these issues and offer some solutions to help you get past them.
There’s no denying it. The labor market is tight. Getting the right employees continues to get more difficult. The current unemployment rate in the US
I probably don’t need to tell you, it is not uncommon for market and/or customer research to result in uninformative or somewhat random data or information that is unactionable. Why? Most often it is because we aren’t asking the right questions. We aren’t asking questions that are truly important to the customer relationship. This post will describe how to ask the most informative questions.
Re-watching one of my all-time favorite TV series – The West Wing gave me some thoughts about how we run our businesses. We often get into a situation where we are managing what comes up. Getting along. And (if we were being honest with ourselves) being mostly reactive and certainly uninspiring. But what if we got our organizations focused on some big, bold, impactful goals for the next 365 days?
When people think about planning for their organization, they most often think “Business Plan -> Startup”, “Strategic Plan -> Established Company”. And in many ways that is true; but not exclusively and not necessarily for the reasons they think. It’s not so much a “new company” vs. “mature company” thing as it is a “Who’s my target audience?” thing. The decision depends on what you are trying to communicate and to whom. They are definitely not the same or interchangeable. Know your purpose and you will know which plan to build at a given time. So which one do you need? The truth is, you need both – or a hybrid.
Not too long ago I was helping a client with their strategic plan. They told me they had a really good handle on customer/market knowledge. And I made the mistake of taking them at their word – without proof. As we moved along the process, it became clear that they didn’t. And it really limited our success. I won’t make that mistake again! Your strategic plan must have market intelligence as its foundation. Don’t skip it. Don’t skimp on it. And don’t ignore it. Internalize it as a core principle of your organization. Make market intelligence a central part of your strategic planning process.