The end of 2019 is in sight. And as it nears, wandering minds turn to the future… and what’s going to happen next year.
As a result, over the next few months, many firms will convene their annual gathering around the conference table and talk about what they want to do in 2020 to grow their business. Unfortunately, these meetings seem to end the same way every year, with a bold directive from the boss… something like, “We want a 20% increase in sales next year… now go get ‘em!” And while that might rally the troops a little (though, I doubt it), it doesn’t provide any real direction or guidance for making that happen.
To help you think a little more broadly – that is, a little more strategically – and to facilitate those conference-table conversations to make sure you’re considering all growth possibilities, here are 5 strategic questions to answer to get your creative juices flowing…
#1. What are you selling? And not just what you’re selling now, but what are the products and services you could and should be selling? Here’s a simple example… you’re a qual shop; should you also begin offering quantitative services? And if so, what would that mean and what would it take for that to happen?
#2. Who are you selling to? Like #1 above, not just your current target markets, but what other industry verticals or market segments could you and should you be selling to? For example, suppose your current work focuses on the senior market. Does it make sense to expand into other segments, like millennials or teenagers? And if so, what would that mean and what would it take for that to happen?
#3. What’s your position in the market? There are a lot of ways to ask this question that are all fairly similar: What’s your value proposition?, What do you want to be known for?, What’s your brand?, etc. But it really boils down to this… What do you want prospective buyers to think when they see or hear your firm’s name? And if you don’t know or can’t articulate a clear answer… then the market will make something up – and you might like what they come up with!What do you want prospective buyers to think when they see or hear your firm’s name? If you don’t know or can’t articulate a clear answer, then the market will make something up – and you might like what they come up with! Click To Tweet
#4. What’s your POD – Point of Differentiation? Or, as a buyer would ask, “Why should I hire your firm versus all of the other similar firms in the marketplace?” You need a clear answer to this question to help buyers make their buying decision. And the rote answers, that far too many firms are using, like “senior level involvement,” “deep critical thinking,” “a great staff” and “great work” just don’t cut it – everybody says that! And if you don’t do anything that is truly unique, maybe it’s time to think about developing something that is.
#5. Messaging. Once you’re clear on what you’re selling, who you’re selling to, how you want to position you firm in the marketplace and how you stand out from the competition… then – and only then – should you put marker to whiteboard and develop your messaging. That is, what do you want/need to say to the marketplace about your firm? And to be effective, this messaging must be consistent across all communication channels – your website and social media sites, what your sales team says and puts in writing, in your marketing materials and presentations, etc.
These strategic questions are not easy to answer. They require a lot of deep, critical thinking… answering ‘what ifs’… and ‘whys’ or ‘why nots.’ In some cases, you’ll want to do some homework to provide context to your decision-making. But the more time and effort you invest in this process, the more likely you are to set your business up for a higher level of success in 2020.
Good luck and good marketing.
Ready to apply this kind of strategic thinking to your firm? Join us for the Think. Plan. Do. Workshop.™, an online event taking place this November. You’ll graduate with an armload of skills and resources as you dig deep into the right strategies for your firm, craft a complete marketing plan and execute your marketing at the highest level. CLICK HERE for complete details.