If you don't know where you're going, how do you know when you get there? Seems like common sense, right? Yet so many companies go along without any kind of road map at all. Or they use the "we'll know it when we see it" method. Still others know where they want to be, but have no idea how to get there. Then, of course, there are those who do strategic planning and have their way laid out before them. Which category does your company fall into?
In this competitive era, where even small companies are selling globally via the Internet, you need to know what your company does best, who your customers are, how to beat the competition (or at least stay out of their way) and how to excel at what you do. Basically, you need a strategic plan. There are a lot of ways to create one. The best way is to hire an outside firm that does it well. Not only do you get their expertise, you get an outsider's view of your company. That's important because, while the company's views of itself are crucial and key personnel should be involved deeply, having someone there to say, "yeah, but what about this?" is also important.
There are a lot of companies who have robust strategic planning services (including The Yaffe Group's own Yaffe/Deutser) and if you can afford to go full boat with one of the best, you should. But, what if you're a smaller company with limited resources? It's still something you need to do. That's why we developed l "13 Days" – an intense, smaller-scale process that delivers a plan in 13 business days. So, there are other options out there, if you need a good plan but think you can't afford one. It doesn't have to be through us, others are bound to have developed smaller-scale processes, too. All you have to do is ask them.
How does it work? In our 13-Day process, we plan 3 days of meetings with our strategic team and key personnel in your company. Each day is devoted to a different circle of influence on your ability to do business. Day one focuses on your company, it's product, people, strengths, weaknesses and internal culture. Day two focuses on your customers: who are they, what do they want, how can you find more of them, etc. Day three focuses on the competition and external factors that affect your business. The remaining 10 business days are devoted to going through all the data, developing the strategies and writing the report.
The benefits of going through this process are:
- Definition of your brand portfolio’s architecture
- Identification of your constituencies and their influencer networks
- Alignment of organization and constituency value systems
- Definition of your and your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses (tangible and intangible)
- Identification of your constraints e.g. industry/government regulations, capacity
- Identification of opportunities for achieving strategic and competitive advantage
- Development of a brand vision that defines the role your brand plays in achieving organizational goals
- Creation of a competitive brand position for your brand
- Development of a brand-driven integrated marketing and communications strategy
- Creation of a customer appropriate brand image
All of these things are very important in getting a leg up on your competition. And they're able to let you know if you're going in the right direction and when you've arrived. So, if you haven't done strategic planning for your company, start now. Hire someone good who can help you. There's a plan out there that you can afford. Because, really, you can't afford not to. If you're spending all your personnel and resources marching in the wrong direction, the end results could be much more costly.