While many of us can remember the initial value in the work we did to create that 80 page business plan, those 40 page launch plans and product plans, even that 30 page PR or media plan, we also can likely recall how difficult they were to actually use on a frequent basis and even cross reference, never mind make a change. OMG!
This represents a long time battle between human dynamics regarding keeping things simple/usable and risk averse requirements, such as investors, boards and management might require.
Fortunately that battle has better alternatives and both win.
There is a new breed of lean, insight planning methods that map purpose, market, key value propositions, challenges, opportunities, product, programs, channel and far more into single page - at a glance - highly usable implementation reference tools and decision tools. When we say "dynamic" we are no longer talking to the archaic processes most large companies applied spending 6-8 months planning for every 4 months of execution. We are now talking about leaner, critical focused, easy reference tools that in the hands of management, staff, sales, marketing, channel, partners and more...assure everyone stays on that same page. It also makes changes and adapting to market conditions a more nimble requirement. What a concept!
The Lean Business Canvas one page business plan is just the start. That one page depiction of your overall business, along with one page depictions of your markets, product strategy, marketing, brand, launch may each have 30 or so pages of work behind them but when it comes to value in usability, these one pagers stand tall. We also see this as a great process tool for opportunity analysis and decision making. It's an extension of critical thinking, efficiency, possibility thinking and fuller exploration of options...just faster, better, more easily inclusive.
How are we applying this?
Headwaters has added "Headwaters Ventures" as a business subset so we can illustrate the power of this to create better solutions that can affect millions of lives for the better. Instead of being insurmountable because of the sheer scope of it all, huge needs are suddenly managable.
How can we use it to help you?
There seems to be two extremes common in business today as differentiated between small startups and larger businesses:
Some startups seem to struggle to put anything on paper, maybe partially concerned to avoid long, unweildy documents. But these companies risk vision erosion and failure if they do not have their most important objectives, strategies and core assumptions documented so others can understand and act on this accurately. A classic sign is when they struggle to brief a channel partner, new agency, consultant on all that matters. So, we can help you to do the following and more:
Consolidate or create core documents in such a way that their utility increases across a variety of uses.
Assure that critical messages are working, especially making your value proposition as compelling as possible and showing that elusive strategy as to how you keep that valued by your market all year.
Fast glance selling against tools. Keep your sales force on top of your advantages as your competors improve.
We help you to create presentations that win investor attention by cosolidating all that you are into just what's important.
Map out your primary newsworthy messages in one short document.
There are many other ways but this gets you startups started up.
Larger organizations also are realizing higher value in adopting lean, entrpreneurial attributes. Planning cycles will remain longer yet they can also bear more fruit faster. Back in Agilent, one team was regarded highly when they reduced the standard long annual market plan down to 12 pages, of which 6 profiled our customers so we all realted to their pain. That was progress and maybe the birthplace of the usable plan. That team was quite forward thinking. Significant product launches typically started 14 months prior to launch. I talk to startups at the begining step of their launch planning and ask "when do you launch?" and am routinely greeted with "Oh, in 3-5 months". There is no wrong answer and given the shorter windows of opportunity and competitive pressure, an answer of 3-5 months deserves help.
In general, for one and all... We work to understand your desired approach to planning and execution. It’s amazing how often we hear sales people state “we are too busy trying to sell to talk strategy”. Disparate sales and communications, lower close rates and higher marketing costs often result. Many agencies that were previously spoiled with thoughtful product, launch or creative criteria briefings are now tasked with helping clients to learn how to get to that criterion upfront and still implement against pinched timelines. Unless one is OK accepting expensive missteps in strategy and execution, some discipline should be appreciated while speed is valued and expected.