When All Your 2018 Business Planning Goes out the Window in the First Two Weeks of 2019
That’s a long title but to the point.
In December 2018 our business strategy discussions focused on the industries we were working in. The session reviewed the pros and cons for each of those industries. Including industry growth opportunities, potential industry fall-out from trade wars, climate change and increase of automation. We had everyone bring to the session ideas for industries they feel would be a good fit for us as well as potential markets within those.
Our agenda included narrowing our industries focus, as well as sharply define the markets we were in. We also looked for the potential of other sub-set markets. To be clear, an industry is a sector of our economy. A market is a flexible term defining a group of customers. Then within that market define specific needs, preferences, demographics, location and distribution channels in that industry.
Within those markets, we further narrowed possible areas that weren’t being addressed. As we carved deeper, we developed a “niche”. A niche might mean if you are a professional service organization, like coaching, you would take the human race, divide it into as many segments of criteria; men, women, ages, location, needs, lifestyle, and interests to name a few. Slowly your market-focus can be dissected further till you discover a niche that no one else is addressing and complements your skill-sets. The more you develop this market-focus, the clearer and distinct your “niche” becomes and so will your messaging. It will also help you direct a laser intent on organizations that serve your “niche” to slowly build an ecosystem.
At the end of our session, we determined which industries we will stay in, which to add plus defining the markets sharper. So what does all of this have to do with throwing out our 2018 business planning in the first two weeks of 2019?
To be perfectly candid we’ve been literally underwater and behind. All the work from 2018 had spilled into 2019 with referrals. Meaning, we built a referral machine. Nothing cosmic to tell you just hard work, attention to detail, focus on the customer’s needs and keeping our word! All culminating in building relationships and trust. These efforts evolved into referrals coming in from several industries who weren’t chosen as part of our business planning decisions.
The first 2 weeks of 2019 have been filled with callbacks, understanding the client’s needs, and then dive deeper into their respective industry. Our motto is, if we aren’t the right fit, we recommend them to other resources then follow up to make sure they’ve landed safely.
What did we do after mid-way into January?
We had a pizza party, closed the office at 3:00 PM, forward the phones and reviewed all of the new clients relative to our original business plans.
We accepted 12% of the referring clients and recommended to the other 88% to other firms we know and trust. I realized you might be horrified at this prospect. Especially if you are just starting out. We understand that all of us when we start our businesses we take whatever we can. But the time comes after 1, 2, or 3 years you need to address the power of focus. Honing your skills to meet specific industry needs. At least that’s our decision. We also believe in our business plan to focus on specific industries and hyper-focus the market niche. Perhaps on January 17th, 2020 we will share with you the consequences of our decisions.
As always in your business journey have fun and laugh!