2014 Planning: face your challenges!

Did you know that 17% of medium-sized[1] Canadian companies have shut their doors between 2007 and 2010? That’s one out of six[2]!  Apart from macro-economic and cyclical factors that have contributed to this sad statistic, several of them had failed to properly plan strategically.

This occurs by a classic exercise, but oh how fundamental; mapping your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) and their comparative analysis in corporate issues.

Know yourself!

Characterize the status of the situation as it is today in a grid showing Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. But have you recently done this exercise in a structured and serious way?

You may be surprised at the changes year after year. Do it annually. Don’t be complacent. Invite trusted people to test your conclusions.

What are your challenges?

The analysis of Strengths and Weaknesses in relation to the Opportunities and Threats is essential to define the challenges that your company needs to take into account in its growth project.

This background analysis allows among other things to identify the:

  • nature of the items to improve in your business, such as the structure of your sales team or your distribution network
  • achievements on which you can build your project as your dominant position in a niche market or your intellectual property
  • urgent actions such as the adaptation of products and services in response to the demands of the market
  • most serious threats from competition or external factors
  • most promising market segments
  • etc.

Elementary you might think… but have you done it recently?

Only after doing this background work can you create a plan of action. The expression says it all, a plan of action. These actions are motivated by issues that the company decided to act upon. To identify these issues, you need to evaluate the situation.

What is your plan of action?

The issues identified on which the company decided to act upon are the source of corporate objectives of the year or further ahead in the future. It is beneficial to transpose them into an action plan! Here I refer you to my article on the subject written year last for initiating your thoughts on issues of strategies and marketing tactics for the development of your plan. Feel free to call professionals to assist and support this process.

Will you be part of the statistics?

On the eve of 2014, many of you are preparing your budgets for the coming year. You’ll certainly rely on your previous year’s action plan and elaborate it. In your budget, I would add an exercise that would improve your results and which will have an impact on your growth plan: strategic planning, at least revisit the state of the situation. You might be surprised to see the Threats your business is facing or learn more about its growth Opportunities.

Do not be part of the unfortunate statistics. Give yourself the strategic framework to accomplish a good portion of your growth plan. Revisit your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Get ready to face your challenges!

[1] 100 to 500 employees

[2] BDC –  Business Development Bank of Canada

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