So if you have the disposition to take it, industry pundit Larry Walsh has a big dose of reality for solution providers about success in 2013. Bottom line: You need a plan for success, it just isn’t going to happen like magic.
Here’s his concern: “According to The 2112 Group’s 2012 Business Acumen Report, 25% of the channel does not have a formal business plan. Worse, 40% of solution providers are not setting sales goals, conducting regular business performance reviews or executing a long-term strategic plan. Most concerning: Only one-third of the channel has a business development plan.”
So, as a woman who has a list to track her lists and owns an inordinate number of white boards for a self-employed communications specialist – I am baffled that solution providers are still using hope as a strategy for success. Most of us won’t go to the grocery store without a plan, but many business owners are hanging their entire livelihood on … well, I’m not exactly sure.
Larry and I have talked about this before, as well as sharing our concern that so many folks in the channel could be doing so much better than they are if only they invested a little time and some basic resources into strategic planning. Larry writes in this blog: “Growth is something that smart businesses plan. It’s a reflection of setting a strategic direction supported by tactical instruments (products and services), identifying ongoing and incremental revenue sources (sales), establishing sales and performance targets (goals), focusing on execution (accountability) and measuring performance (metrics).”
Amen. So my challenge to you in 2013 (preferably early in 2013) is to take the time – start by setting aside 30 minutes a day – to start working on your strategy. Learn your business metrics, evaluate your strengths and weaknesses, set some reasonable goals (start small, that is OK) that you can measure (this is key) and then evaluate your success. Start with baby steps, and then challenge yourself – and your team – to think more broadly and before you know it, you might start identifying areas for improvement and begin to move forward with more purpose.
Go sharpen your pencils, and let’s get going.