Evolution is inevitable. Everywhere you look, the business world is changing faster than ever. If your company is operating the same way today as it did when you launched, you’re not just stagnating, but losing ground to your competitors. The market changes swiftly, and in this dynamically shifting business landscape, planning for change is essential for every successful organization.
Strategic planning for these changes requires a thorough understanding of the market, and a targeted approach which addresses the specific changes in your industry. Step-by-step approaches can be combined with long-term goals. Whether it is a complete overhaul, a few adjustments, or just developing a vision, every company needs a strong grasp of how to plan for changing times.
For example, Seattle’s Best Coffee, part of the Starbucks family, revitalized its business and its 40-year-old brand earlier this year as part of its new strategic planning process. The company is rapidly expanding its diverse distribution with a goal of establishing 100,000 new locations—from Burger King to Alaska Airlines—where people can enjoy a freshly-brewed cup of its premium coffee. By developing a strategic goal that addresses the current market, the company increased ten-fold within six months, from 3,000 to 30,000 distribution points. These locations include company operated stores, franchised businesses, retailers, grocers, restaurant chains, and food service locations, such as college campuses.
As you can see, focusing on the future with a keen eye toward current market changes can have a massive impact on your business potential. By planning carefully, Seattle’s Best Coffee was able to take advantage of the new trends and industry changes toward higher-end food products in every environment, including traditionally lower-end locations such as college food courts. Their rapid growth was not an accident, rather a direct result of planning for change.
A good place to start when thinking about strategic planning for change in your business is gathering all the information you have, both about your organization, and your industry in general. Below are some tips to keep in mind when planning for change:
Tip 1 – Know Your Brand Before making any plans for the future, it’s important to have a firm grasp of your organization’s core persona, and your unique position in the market landscape. Then you can branch out or reimagine your brand as necessary.
Tip 2 – Know Your Audience.
Conduct some formal or informal market research to see if your audience now is the same as it was in the past, if their values may have changed, or if there are new audiences to engage.
Tip 3 – Know the Market
Study your industry to stay on top of current trends. In the digital age, industries change with lightning speed – don’t be blindsided by changes to your industry as a whole!
Tip 4 – Don’t Underestimate your Resources
Have a team that’s great at marketing in one area? Have them try their hand at marketing a different product – you may be surprised at the way skills translate .
Tip 5 – Use the Competition as Inspiration
Rather than simply seeing other organizations as competition, see if you can incorporate some of their successful ideas into your own strategy for change.
Tip 6 – Go from Micro to Macro
A common organizational pitfall Is focusing on details at the expense of the big picture – or conversely, having a big vision that doesn’t match up with day-to-day reality. Develop a plan that integrates both micro- and macro- level strategies