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Simplifying the complexity of business planning

Now, where, how.

I often think of the Albert Einstein quote “the definition of genius is taking the complex and making it simple” when I think about and apply now, where, how.

The approach can be applied to the most complex or simplest of issues in your business and will in my experience, deliver clarity and confidence to the user. Consider its application to the following simple scenario:

NOW: Our business is going okay, but our sales bounce up and down with the market. Our products and sales reps look and sound the same as our competitors – if you asked our clients what our point of difference is, they’d struggle to tell you. Real growth is hard to achieve.

WHERE: There’s a segment of our market that is small but growing and I think we can target it and service those clients better than our competitors can. We’d need to alter our products to suit their needs as well as some of our processes, but our growth rate would be higher and client retention would improve.

HOW: I need to get in a room with my sales reps and product team to flesh out what that market segment really needs. We should do some research with our existing clients and map out who our competitors are in that space. We could run a trial of a new solution with our existing clients before a broader launch.

Starting with NOW is an essential first step as it gives the planning process reality – how hard would it be to navigate your way out of the Brisbane CBD with a road map of Melbourne to guide you?

In my experience, many people having identified their present situation default to HOW: how can I fix what isn’t working in my business right now? If you applied HOW to the above situation before considering where you wanted to go first, you might be tempted to sack your sales staff and employ better ones or undertake an advertising campaign to better promote your products to the broader market, neither of which would help the business achieve its desired outcomes.

The reason to consider WHERE before HOW is that it orients your focus on those aspects of your business that you’d like to change rather than simply dealing with every crisis or issue that arises – simply put, focusing upon the important rather than the urgent.

HOW is building the bridge between NOW and WHERE – consider what will help you and what will hinder you in achieving your objective.

Every business has hundreds of existing aspects that could be improved or opportunities that could be pursued but very few businesses can pursue them all – NOW, WHERE, HOW delivers reality to your planning and orients your focus to that which is important.

If you'd like further information or discuss further, please contact our Principal Cam McMillan on 0436 474 797.

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