The most natural evolution of capabilities happens when businesses develop either upstream or downstream processes.
Every successful business, at some point, looks for ways to expand their capabilities – this could mean a look upstream or downstream in the value chain. In order to make an expansion effective, businesses should evaluate where they are at now, what the current industry opportunities are and where they would like to position themselves.
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The first step to beginning any strategic planning starts with having a clear understanding of your own company’s capabilities. What does your company do well? Where could you improve? What is your position in the market? For a company evaluation to be successful, putting together a team of department leaders is critical to ensuring a well-rounded discussion.
Now that you understand where your company is, you need to evaluate where the industry is trending. For every industry there are many different routes, having a solid understanding of how each one fits your company is essential. New expansion opportunities are an important part of creating value so put the necessary time into researching your options and their costs. Talk to your customers about their needs, learn about what other companies are doing, and get a strong understanding for the current market layout.
The final step is determining where your company wants to be. After assessing where your business is and future opportunities, it is now time to decide which route is best for your company. Taking the time to review the previous steps will be useful here. After a decision is made determine when your company leaders will meet to evaluate progress. Along with other important performance metrics the progress of the expansion should be continually monitored. Whether the opportunity goes in the direction you anticipated or not, stick with it and make adjustments as needed – this is all a part of the process.