Successful entrepreneurs plan their success in advance, then execute their plan flawlessly. They also realize that the world is constantly changing, thus their plan has to change as dynamically as the world they market to. When I’ve counseled entrepreneurs on planning for change, it’s been incredibly enlightening to see how little the average entrepreneur notices how their surroundings change the more immersed they are in running their business venture. To help entrepreneurs see just how rapidly the world changes around them, I like to walk them through the 10 year exercise. Here’s how the exercise works:
1. Make a comprehensive list of several important things that are happening in and out of your business industry in the current year (ex. The industry competitive leader in your industry, Total revenue size of your industry, Political leaders in power, Sports champions, etc.),
2. Now make a similar list of all of the comparable metrics to your first list for the date 10 years prior to the current year, and
3. Then compare the two lists to see how much change has occurred in the last 10 years.
Here’s an example of what these lists might look like:
What this exercise is meant to show you is that because the world around us changes so rapidly, strategy tends to be outdated as soon as the ink dries on the paper. So, what can you do to make your strategy change as dynamically as your surroundings? Successful entrepreneurs adapt to changes in their surroundings as they occur by constantly monitoring their environment (and taking notice of any changes to the environment), by cultivating feedback from the communities they serve (to solicit ideas and insight about the changes they observe), and by making continual updates to their strategy (thus allowing them to respond quickly to the changes they observe).
In monitoring their environment for change, successful entrepreneurs understand that you can’t track everything. Instead, they focus on the changes most likely to negatively affect their ability to accomplish their strategic goals. They accomplish this by focusing on key trends or issues that can impact the business, and that can prevent the execution of strategy (that can also be easily monitored and measured over a definitive period of time, to detect early signs of change).
They cultivate feedback from the communities they serve by maintaining an open line of communication with anyone in direct contact with their customers (this would include employees, advisors, suppliers, competitors, and complementors, in addition to their actual customers). The goal of creating this exchange of information is to gain real-time insight and early warning signs of change impacting their customer’s needs.
And finally, they revisit their strategy when issues are highlighted by their monitoring activities. And regardless of whether the changes necessary to strategy are major or minor, successful entrepreneurs communicate throughout the communities they serve what changes they’re making (and more importantly, why those changes are being made).
If you found this article helpful, please share it with other entrepreneurs in your network. If you have questions about anything in this article, or would like my insight on a question about any aspect of the entrepreneurial process, please connect with me on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/thinkbigwithgeoffreykent), LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/in/thinkbigwithgeoffreykent/), or Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/thinkbigwithgeoffreykent/). I also believe that 50% of entrepreneurs fail within 5 years, because they lack the resources to properly execute their vision. Leveraging what I’ve learned over a 40+ year successful entrepreneurial career, I’ve developed a methodology to help entrepreneurs build their unique customized strategy for responsibly scaling exponential business growth. To gain access to my 7-week online course, collaborate with like-minded entrepreneurs through the exclusive “Think Big” Facebook group, regularly communicate with me, and gain access to my extensive professional network, connect with me on my course page (www.thinkbigwithgeoffreykent.com/).