[Part I is here] Some businesses failed because their handlers took assumptions for a fact. They fail to work hard enough to identify and validate critical assumptions before committing their time and resources to the business.
Be flexible in your execution
The real value you’ll receive from planning is sharpening your thinking and organizing your action steps. And with it, you can create a clear action plan with defined steps, timelines, and deliverables. This is where timely execution comes in.
Planning does not need to provide you with all the answers but it can help you to identify key enterprise metrics you must pay attention to from time to time, and how to profitably and sustainably meet the growing market needs.
Planning is an ongoing process of setting your business goals, deciding when and how to accomplish them, and determining how best to accomplish them. Whatever your plan is today, it may probably change tomorrow due to several market forces that you can’t control.
So, you have to stay flexible and adaptable in your approach to realizing your plans in today’s fluxy marketplace. The business plan that you have right now will likely not be the one that will make your business succeed. While executing the plans, keep an open mind.
Pivoting could be an option
Most successful businesses change their products, services, and business models multiple times from the start of the business to the point where they are successful and making a big difference in the marketplace.
Factors such as government policies, changing customers’ needs, technological advancement, economic downturn, and unforeseen situations such as the COVID-19 pandemic could necessitate that you don’t just iterate but pivot.
This year may demand that you pivot. Pivot means to change the direction of your business. This change, however, can be total or partial depending on your primary purpose of pivoting.
It could be to assist your business to survive, improve revenue, or navigate through the difficult and changing business environment, and thrive.
Pivoting is not new in the business world
A couple of companies and enterprises had found themselves in a situation that warranted that they pivoted. It might interest you to know that BMW began as an aircraft manufacturer (that’s why its logo is an airplane propeller with the blue part representing the sky) before moving to motorcycles and then cars.
Wrigley started off selling soap and baking powder before getting into the chewing gum business. Why? Because the market forces said so, and it had the capacity and capabilities to fill the needs.
Even here in Africa, Gokada, a bike-hailing company, shifted to logistics, food delivery services, and transportation following the ban on commercial motorcycles in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital.
Let market feedback guide your plan
If your market isn’t patronizing you as they should, please find out why. And from the feedback, you could modify your business model. True entrepreneurs know when to iterate or pivot their ideas away from their original plans and toward the areas that provide better opportunities.
So, it isn’t so much what you know when you start that matters but what you learn and put to use after confronting the market that does. So, you have to listen to the market with your ears, eyes, heart and data. If you are willing to adjust, iterate or pivot, the opportunities are boundless.
About the Author:
Tony Ajah is a Business Growth Strategist, and the author of BUSINESS SENSE, and ON BECOMING AN ENTREPRENEUR. He maintains a personal blog, where he shares proven business ideas and principles for SMEs.