Planning works. A year ago, I shared The 2011 Plan and last week I shared the success story of that plan when I wrote “How to make what you write come true.” Finding a planning method that works for you is, unfortunately, not so easy. I’ve settled on a method that combines Chris Brogan’s three words method and the visual thinking approach of Sketchnotes, which results in the drawing included with this post.
The 2012 Plan dissected
Growth – One of last year’s words was “customers” and it turned out to be the key word. We learned two important pieces of information about our customers in 2011: Who they are and where to find them online. Armed with that knowledge and the other two words in this year’s plan, significant growth of the ventures I am involved in is achievable.
Automate – Late last year, I had an “ah-ha” moment related to automation. A task worth doing manually is worth automating. If it’s not, then stop doing the task entirely. Your business is not truly systemized until most – if not all – of the business processes are automated. It takes more time to delegate and train those to whom you are delegating if the process is not automated. Automated tasks have a much higher probability of being done correctly.
Teams – It’s one thing to hire people to help you. It’s quite another to empower them to manage the team without you. This year, progress must happen without my involvement. Handing over business processes that have been automated is one way to ensure this outcome. While I can and sometimes will be a player on the teams I help create, I don’t intend to ever be the coach.
Back to growth
The strategy that came out of this planning exercise is: More and more of my time must be dedicated to tasks focused on long-term enterprise growth. Some might call this sales. I’ll be out searching for the relationships that allow us to partner our technology and knowhow with new audiences in 2012.
Here’s to an awesome 2012. Lets’ do this!
I just concluded a conversation during which I realized why my success has grown so significantly over the last two or three years. In a nut shell, while ColorMetrix products can be used to solve technical problems that is not what Jim Raffel does. I solve business problems.
Solving technical problems is a race to the bottom
My company, ColorMetrix, still makes and sells a world class cloud based verified color solution. And you know what? Many of my “competitors” in the space where we used to generate 90% of our revenue now give away (or include) verified color solutions in their products. If that does not define “race to the bottom” I do not know what does. It’s darn near impossible to compete with free.
If, however, you add supply chain color strategy, based on over 20 years experience in supplying verified color solutions, now you can compete. You need to solve business problems with your technology products. See how that’s different than solving a technical problem? Solving technical problem is relatively easy compared to solving business problems that reduce costs and/or generate revenue.
It starts with your technology but ends with your business skills
Your technology can and will get you in the door. The problem is the level of entry that you will make into an organization. You’ll be dealing with engineers and product managers. Not bad people but people who are already working on existing business ideas.
How about writing and speaking about solving business problems with your technology? Now, you have a shot at entering an organization at the director or higher level. Not only that, you’ll be part of the team that plans new product or service before development even start. Your technology could become an integral part of a solution with a five or ten year life cycle.
Your current technology offering may not have what it takes to make this transition. Or, your business skills may need brushing up. Dig deep and look for the unique value proposition you and your technology can offer. When you find that value proposition you will only be competing with yourself.