Businesses have to look forward, or die. Too many businesses(including my profession, CPAs) look at historical results and trends to predict the future. The problem with this strategic plan is the business owners do not see what is ahead. In many cases, the strategic planners use old techniques when strategizing for the future. For example, many business owners (and artists) say, “I’m moving into social networking.”
I ask them what they mean by that. They reply, “The strategy of doing what everyone else has been doing for the last five years.”
So, before designing your new company, before resurrecting your old company, before January 1, read this article RWW article which explains where some people think social networking is going in 2011. Then, pick a couple of points and do some future research on these points. If the predictions seem plausible, adjust your strategic plan to be an industry leader, not follower. Very rarely does a “copy cat” strategic plan carve new industries and new ways of doing business.
Let’s take one example from the article: “‘It’s not just about technology, it’s about a fundamental shift into a new age of leadership with new type of executives who behave and operate in new ways,’ said Marc Benioff, Salesforce.com chairman and CEO. ‘Expect to see a rise in companies who, by end of year, will be recognized for socially-informed innovation, customer focus and work environment, much like Zappos and Amazon were a few years back.'”
This comment from the article is not talking about just another strategic plan, no he speaker is talking about a new type of leadership. Step into the shoes of your customers, fans, clients, etc., and see how a new strategic plan involving social networking can bridge the communication gap between you and them. Your strategic plan must first focus on them, not on you, and definitely not in the rear-view mirror. We can learn from the past, but we shouldn’t repeat it in a strategic plan if the landscape is changing.