IN YOUR SHOES Tips For Small Business
Build for the Future
The smartest way to approach business development
Before you invest time and money in a traditional business development plan, consider that only 5% to 10% of these plans are ever implemented. That’s because most businesses engage in strategic planning only to reduce anxiety. It’s like taking a couple of aspirin for a headache. In this case the headache is the future. The problem with this approach, says Jim Whitt, cofounder of Purpose Unlimited, is that you’ll be trying to solve tomorrow’s problems with yesterday’s solutions. If you really want your growing business to succeed in the future, he points out, you need a pioneering business development process that looks a generation ahead.
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To get started, Whitt says, get key people in your company to answer the following four questions:
- What did the world and your industry look like 30 years ago? This question primes the pump. Once you’ve compiled a list of the monumental changes that have taken place in the last 30 years, you will understand that more big changes will take place in the next 30 years.
- What will the world and your industry look like 30 years from now? While no one can accurately predict the future, remember that Jules Verne was writing about a trip to the moon 100 years before it happened. Don’t limit your thinking. Tell your team to be as futuristic as their minds will let them.
- What will your business have to be, do, and look like to succeed in the future you just described? You are not bound to the form or model of your current organizational structure. Borrow a page from Star Trek and dare to boldly go where no man has gone before.
- What will you have to do to help the organization get there? That requires collectively creating a picture of your future where you’ll find meaning and purpose, not just as a group but as individuals.
The collective answers to these questions will help you identify goals and objectives and the people who need to be responsible for their completion. Your history will have everything you need to develop a real business development plan.