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The Value of a Clear Game Plan

Sports teams just don’t run onto the field and play. They have a game plan which they have practiced to put themselves in the best position to WIN. As you run your businesses, it is important to have a clear game plan that all of your “players” have studied and practiced. I like simple, one-page documents for our employees to get behind and our entire team to have created through the strategic planning process. This one page “game plan” is called “Play-Win-Sustain“.

The first segment is “WHERE WE WILL PLAY.”

This is the most critical element of the game plan analogy. You, as the business leader, must provide clear vision on which markets you will compete in and who your customers are. This is where tough decisions discussed in my previous strategy blog takes hold. Who/what are you going to pursue and who/what are not consistent with your strategy. We recently spoke with a new prospect who was interested in the soy feed market, textured soy protein food market, corn-soy-blend market, and on and on. Not only were these different product markets, but also customer markets.

This was headed towards trouble. We encouraged the prospect to prioritize and focus on specific products and to clearly identify the target customers that they have the best opportunity to succeed with. Then, the customer broadens out to additional markets as they achieve success.

The second segment is “HOW WE WILL WIN.”

This is where you define your top 3-5 areas you will outperform your competition and ultimately WIN your customer’s business. You may find you have the lead in service/support for your customers or in the quality of your food or feed. Then the entire organization all pulls in these focused directions to WIN the business. Sales, marketing, production, procurement all moving in the same direction.

The third segment is “HOW WE WILL SUSTAIN.”

What are you going to do to not get copied by a new competitor? What about the other competitors you have and what if they started to follow your approach? You must think about this so that your business plan works now, but also for the long term. What decisions can you make every day to up your “game” to keep the lead on your competitors?

We want our customers to WIN, and we will help them all that we can. However, it is critical for each customer to evaluate their game plan to clearly state where to PLAY, how to WIN, and how to SUSTAIN the winning game plan.

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