Vision defines where you want your business to go. Once your vision statement is in place, it is essential to assess with clarity and honesty, and, in detail, the current state of your business. Assessment of your company confirms where you are today. A clear vision and an honest assessment work hand-in-hand to define the gap you must cross to move from your current state to achieving your vision. That is the gap your strategy will bridge.
When conducting your assessment, learn all you can about the following:
- Your numbers (financial statements, operating metrics, numbers related to your sales effectiveness – mix of customers, retention, conversion of prospects)
- Your products (how do your products or services eliminate your customers’ pain?)
- Your processes (operating efficiency, cost-effectiveness, consistency of organizational processes)
- Your market (marketplace factors affecting your business)
- Your customers (current profiles of their businesses, their current and emerging needs and competitive pressures)
- The buzz about your business (your reputation, feedback from customer service, sales, and social media)
- Your key issues and opportunities (issues inhibiting growth or opportunities you should pursue)
- The health of your leadership team (how well does your leadership team work together to solve problems, hold themselves and others accountable?)
Conducting an effective assessment of your business requires brutal honesty. That is not always fun work – after all, it is human nature to avoid facing our weaknesses. Be as objective as you can be and willing to go where the facts take you. Ask: “What do we actually know?” The facts will help you build a realistic picture of where your company stands today so that you can build a focused and effective strategy to achieve your vision.