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07/24/2012

Where�s Your Company Headed?

Any time is a good time to look back over the past several months (or year) to review and analyze what you did right. Or what you missed out on. However, it�s also energizing as well as necessary to look into the future.

If you believe that markets and margins will be the same in five years as they are now, you are likely placing your company in jeopardy. Because no business or industry can escape the rapid change we see all around us.

So take a moment and consider the following questions.

  • Which customers will you serve in the future?

  • What channels will you use to reach those future customers?

  • Who will your competitors be in the months and years ahead?

  • What will be your future competitive advantage?

  • What skills or capabilities will make you unique in the future?

  • Where will your future margins come from?

  • What will the new trends be in the future?

Although spotting future trends can be tricky, here are several suggestions to help you.

Read classified advertising and observe which firms are hiring and what kinds of jobs are in short supply.

  • Where are the long lines? Back orders?

  • What are people reading? What are the best-selling books,   magazines and newspapers?

  • Where are the shortages?

  • Follow the financial pages. Look for common stocks selling at higher than average price-earnings multiples.

  • What are the comic strips saying?

  • Where and what are the most popular seminars?

  • Who�s losing...having going-out-of- business sales and filing          bankruptcy?

  • Check vehicle registrations for types, prices, etc.

  • Study display advertising.

  • Watch crime statistics.

  • Look at mail order catalogs.

  • Visit trade shows and read trade magazines. Visit shows outside your industry

  • Travel. Watch and listen.

You can add a dozen other indicators that are unique to your field. But you need to keep the blinders off, in order to stay in touch with the big picture.



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