I ended the last blog post by saying, “Maybe strategic planning isn’t that hard after all!” I’ll be honest – it is hard. The purpose of the 6 P’s of Planning is to break down the process into pieces and attack smaller parts. And the process is flexible so that you can work on each part in whatever order you like.
Henry Ford once said, “It is not the employer who pays the wages. Employers only handle the money. It is the customer who pays the wages.” So today, let’s start off with patrons (customers).
What kind of people (or businesses) do you want to do business with? The answer many businesses would give would be “Everybody!” The problem with that answer is that people who are your customers choose to do so because you fill a need. And you can’t satisfy every single consumer’s needs. It’s just not possible.
So who do you do business with? What kinds of people buy your products today? High income individuals? Small businesses? What about demographics? Break it down however you like, but somehow you need to paint a picture of who your customers are. If you had to describe your customers in one or two sentences, what would you say?
Now go through the same process, only ask yourself, “Who do I want to do business with?” Do you get the same characteristics? Or is it an entirely different group? Ultimately, the real issue is how to get from today’s customers (NOW) to tomorrow’s (WHERE). If you can understand how to bridge the gap between today’s customer and tomorrow’s, you can start to understand what kind of company you need to become.