With Businesses to Build, Companies Consistently Postpone Strategic Thinking
Step #1: Write a one-sentence description of what your company does that no other company can. This seems rather obvious but test it out for yourself. Ask 10 heads of companies to tell you what their company does in one sentence. Averages are three will be able to and the others will need many more than one sentence. This is because many companies operate without a true point of distinction from their competition in the marketplace. It is truly impressive and refreshing when you meet a CEO who truly understands his company’s distinction who can sum up what they do in one quick sentence. And if they ask you to help them build a particular piece of their stream it is truly a pleasure to contribute. They have thought through their strategic advantage allowing you to focus on the most logical next steps since they have established their primary foundational strategy.
Step #2: Know your competitors as well as you know your company. This is often ignored during strategic planning, usually because the critical information cannot be found within the company’s walls. It’s easy enough to write down who your competition is and that’s a great first step. But somehow you must find a way of securing their market strategies. Attend tradeshows, conferences, webinars, and online forums that your competition attends. And read their website and blogs along with any white papers they’ve written. Then summarize their key strategies that you pick out. You can tell them by what they repeat. And of course, talk with them in person to gain a feel of their company and personnel. Uncomfortable for some, this is a terrific way of gaining first-hand knowledge of how your competition handles itself in public. This practice can provide tremendous insights when talking to your prospective clients about your company.
Tom Marin is the Founder and President of MarketCues, Inc., a national consulting firm. He has worked for some of the world’s largest corporations and middle-market firms. Tom’s focus is to help CEOs drive their strategy shifts and strategic growth programs. Follow MarketCues on Twitter. Tom also welcomes emails new LinkedIn connections or calls to (919) 908-6145.