Most business plans starts by outlining the market trends and customer needs. This model works well when your search for gradual improvements in an existing business. As you enter a new business or when a major inflection point hit you market you need a different approach.
You need to move from searching for insights instead of information when building new businesses. I suggest you start challenge yourself and your thinking by looking at two key parts of your market analysis. Trends versus Inflection Points – A trend is a broader brush view of a shift in the market telling you what is about to happen. An Inflection point is a sharp event also providing information on when something is about to happen. Understanding the inflection points shaping your business is vital for success. Information versus Insights – We receive to much information about “what” market observations. Insights take you one step further in understanding the “so what” aspects and allow you to define “Now what”. Quality insights are a better tool than information available to a broader audience.
Willie Pietersen defined a model for how you can analyze the vital markets shifts deeper. Identify the key questions and work through the following four topics:
- What did the past look like? A lot of answers of the future are in the past.
- Where do we stand today? Have we past a major shift already or is it about to come.
- What do everybody now about the future, i.e. Information? Just relying on this will generate me-too strategies and not a strategic differentiation.
- Which unique insights do you have about the future? This is hard work from own thinking. This is the best foundation for a strong strategy.
These four question types can address strategic questions of five types. Business climate, Industry Dynamics, Customers, Competitors and own realities. Answers to key strategic questions will give a good foundation for your new business.
Key questions to ask you in this area are:
- How have we formulated the Key Strategic Questions (KSQs), where we need insights? Half of the value will come from identifying and formulating the right questions.
- Have we articulated the Brutal Truths and Key Insights (BT&KI) so they are clear enough as a basis for our strategy? This is a job of balancing white, black and grey in our articulation of the world.
- How often do we need to re-visit our KSQs and BT&KIs to make sure include incremental insights gains? KSQs and BT&KIs are suitable for incremental insights and learning is a step-by-step process.
This is one of the areas where you need to invest most time in understanding the main concepts. I consider all these suggestions as fundamental:
- Only the paranoid survive, how to exploit the crisis points that challenge every company [BOOK] – by Andy Grove
- Reinventing Strategy [BOOK] – by Willie Pietersen
- Strategic Learning [BOOK] – by Willie Pietersen
Start today to become the provider of insights in your team.