A few days ago, a friend was telling me that he was interested in doing strategic planning, but he really didn’t know if it was the right time. This is an understandable doubt, the world in in crisis due to COVID-19 and there is no certainty of when the virus will be under control.
This is a particularly hard time for businesses. Many have been affected to the point of bankruptcy, others survive by the inertia of some activities that they were already doing, but don’t have great projection on a short term and, a few others, due to the nature of their products or services are having a positive year.
If one has a clear strategy and considers that even with the COVID-19 crisis, its business model will remain current and will continue bringing value to its clients, no major adjustments should be made.
However, there are signs that may indicate that the strategy needs to be reviewed. Some of them are:
1. The services or products that represent most of the income have been significantly affected
Beyond the coronavirus, there are times when the offer simply does not have that much value to the market. Sales drop, income declines and this becomes a multi-annual tendency. It is possible that the business model as it was conceptualized is about to run out.
2. The internal team is not aligned
This is the typical situation in which, for example, finance pulls to one side and operations pulls to the other. Or marketing promises one thing and production is doing another. These flaws in team alignment show a lack of clarity in the global strategy and possible silo behavior where each person is looking out for their own interests without considering the wellbeing of the entire team.
3. The company is investing in what everyone else is doing because it is a trend and not because it understands its impact on the strategy
Sometimes organizations start investing in things such as digital transformation or social media because everyone is doing it. It gives them the sense that they are keeping up with the changing environment. And it very well might be, but many times, when investments are made in trends are you can’t see quantifiable results, it is because there was no strategic thinking regarding the role of these investments on results.
4. There is no clarity about opportunities and how to provide sustainability to the business
There’s a collective feeling of being adrift. Future perspective is uncertain and there is no clear direction. There’s no clear view of how the business will look like in five years. The environment has changed very much and previously used tactics no longer have the desired impact.
5. The target market is too broad
As the saying goes, don’t bite off more that you can chew. If you expect your products or services to be for everyone, you are probably over servicing some and under servicing others. In the great majority of cases, it is not realistic to think that a single product or service is exactly what everyone needs.
Learning to recognize the signs is important to make timely adjustments and redirect efforts. It takes time, but is time well spent if we are able to identify how to add value to our clients.