I was recently invited to participate in a strategic planning session for a trade association I belong to and sit on the Board of. NAPL (National Association for Printing Leadership) is a forward thinking group that is very proactively shaping the future of the organization. They realize that the print industry as a whole is evolving, as well as the nature of membership organizations in general.
In preparation for this planning session, 3 questions were posed to each of us for consideration in advance. And while these questions are very relevant to the printing industry, I believe they can easily apply to almost any market. Here they are…
- Who are our competitors? You will no doubt be able to identify some of your most obvious competition, but in reality I would suggest that your real competition is not another company or organization – but rather new strategies driven by technology, generational impact, the overall economy, and even yourself!
- What changes or trends are taking place in the marketplace? Again, there might be some obvious answers for each of your individual markets – however I believe if you think about it, there are other trends that also impact each of us. For instance, just the “speed of change” that we are witnessing now, and will only increase in the future. Also, the strategy behind marketing is evolving – it is no longer “telling” your story, but rather engaging and encouraging clients and prospects to share their beliefs about your product or services.
- If it was one year from now and we were having our strategic planning meeting, what has to have happened during that year in order for us to feel good about our progress? What a great question, and one that really drives home the need to “plan your work and work your plan!” Concentrate on the most critical strategies and make sure that you track the results religiously.
All business and organization leaders engage in the planning process – whether formal or informal. Often times the truly successful ones are those that look beyond the obvious, and then be willing to hold themselves accountable!