I’m often asked how we go about helping clients determine their best point five years out on the horizon.
Here are the steps we follow… and the ones I teach my MBA students, too.
Conduct a preliminary assessment of your company’s internal strengths (look at everything from supply chain to operations to distribution channels, to the product or service itself, to its market position and positioning, to the marketing of it to consumers and through the distribution chain, to customer service… and everything in between).
Assess the strengths of your competitors.
Determine what your customers want now and are likely to want in the future.
Find out why your competitors’ customers buy from them and not from you… and find out what it would take for them to start doing business with you (i.e. to buy their products and/or services from you).
Examine the trends unfolding in your industry… and in complementary industries.
Assess the macro environment, paying close attention to the economic climate, locally, regionally and globally.
Take time to really think hard about the direction in which your industry is heading and what it will take to succeed down the road.
Start to consider where the industry growth will be occurring… and where declines are expected. Really understand the “why” behind this.
Determine where a company such as your should position itself for success down the road based on what you are seeing.
Then – and only then – go back and re-evaluate your company in the context of what you have learnt.
Ask yourself the questions below as a starting point.
Is this a market position that our company can occupy?
Do we have the right core competencies? If not, can we acquire them through acquisitions, alliances, outsourcing or any other kind of partnership?
Do we want to?
How big a change will it mean for our organization?
Will it be worth it, not simply from an ROI perspective, but in terms of what it means for our future growth?
What obstacles will we need to overcome to get there?
What will we need as an organization to leap these hurdles?
What are the right milestones to achieve on this new path?
There are many more questions to be asked… and these will be part of another article.
By Liam Dawe