Does your company really matter? If your company disappeared today, would the world be different tomorrow?
This is a critical question for any business owner or CEO to be able to answer and many find it very difficult to honestly be able to respond to this simple question.
Additionally, many small to medium sized businesses do not have a current business plan describing where they are now, where they want to be over the next years and—most importantly—how they are going to get there? Owners and CEOs should have a clear explanation for themselves, their employees and their other stakeholders.
I guess the assumption is that we will just keep doing what we have been doing and hope for the best. That is a dangerous assumption to make in today’s technology driven world, with smart algorithms, robotics and artificial intelligence changing the world and the business landscape.
Any successful business with a long term future must have a clear understanding of their unique value proposition that clearly understands the special value to customers of what they do and in the way they do it.
Their strategy must serve a specific requirement that their current and future customers demand—in a way that their competitors cannot easily duplicate. This entails establishing a unique emotional brand identity in their customer’s minds that precludes any reason to consider another brand.
Walmart is a classic example as it offers its customers good quality products at considerably lower prices than its competitors. As their value proposition states: “Live better, spend less.” In their case, the cost savings is the primary differentiator and their unique value proposition.
Every company should have a clearly published vision and mission statement along with a business plan that explains how management plans to sustain their unique value proposition in the coming years. Good business plans articulate a company’s purpose, its strategy for maintaining the competitive advantage and a clear explanation of the following:
- Who the company serves.
- What products or services it offers.
- What it does and it is different in the way it does it.
- The value it provides to customers.
If executed effectively, a well done business plan will enable any business to establish a sustainable competitive advantage and continue to grow brand equity.
The process of developing and recycling a business plan every year will allow any company to stay focused on the most important aspects of their business: changing customer requirements, surpassing competitor’s strategies and keeping pace with evolving trends or technology in their marketplace.
To sustain the value your company offers you need to be constantly able to answer: What value are we providing? Does that matter? Are we doing it in a way that is difficult imitate? Are we doing today what we need to do to ensure our tomorrow?
As business leader and leadership scholar Max de Pree once said: “We cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are.”
Can you articulate what your company’s unique value proposition is? Do you have a current business plan to guide you into the future?