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December 8, 2015

To Be Really Successful… Try a Little ‘Negative Thinking’

rose2Part 4 of the ‘Retreat Series’

It’s that time of the year when most firms are working (some might say ‘scrambling!’) to finish their 2016 Marketing & Sales plan. Setting lofty goals… thinking about opportunities for growth… considering the possibilities for success. All good stuff!

But I submit that you’ll create a more focused plan and achieve even greater success if you think ‘negative.’ That is, in addition to the opportunities in the marketplace, also look at your business through the lens of the problems and the challenges you face.

Start by answering the broad question, “What are the biggest challenges we will face in 2016?” Then, drill down a little and discuss and answer these kinds of questions:

  • “40% of our revenue comes from one client. What are we doing to ensure that we maintain (and even grow) our relationship with them?” By the way, this is genuinely one of the most pervasive issues I see in our industry.
  • “Revenue from 30% of our clients dropped – or completely disappeared – in 2015. What are we doing to stop the bleeding and re-engage with those businesses?”
  • “Technology enhancements in our industry are developing quickly… what happens if we don’t embrace them?”
  • “What’s going on with our top competitors that could impact us in 2016?” Note: Think about mergers/acquisitions, new product launches, key hires, etc.
  • “The primary industry we serve is in the midst of a downturn. What do we do about that?”
  • “I’m concerned that our best project manager (or sales rep or software developer or…) is thinking about leaving. If she leaves, how will that impact us?”

Yes, it can be a little depressing thinking about your business in those terms, but the truth is… ANY of those kinds of things could happen to you at ANY time. And probably will!

So, if you haven’t thought about problems like that – and the implications they can have for your company – then you’re looking at your business through rose-colored glasses. It’s the old adage come to life, “If you fail to plan… you plan to fail.”

So, as you create your 2016 marketing & sales plan… by all means, plan to take advantage of all of the opportunities that you find. But, at the very least, also spend a little time considering the problems and challenges in the MR industry, in the industries your serve and inside your own firm. Addressing and solving those problems could be the real catalyst you need for growth next year.

Good luck and good marketing.

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