The Now can be a difficult question for business owners to answer as it requires an honest assessment of the good and the bad within the business, encompassing:
• Financial performance trends
• Staffing issues
• System and process issues
• Customer and product profitability
• Market and wider economy factors
Reviewing these internal and external factors allows you to “draw a line in the sand” that can then be used as the base to measure future improvements from.
Assessing where you are Now can often lead to jumping in and fixing problems – or straight to the How part of the process.
The problem this can cause is that you may just be fixing the easy things or the most visible. Ideally you want to be spending your energy on changing the systems or processes that are going to give you the greatest return in terms of increased profits or dollars spent.
Once you now the where, then you can focus on the How. This is your business plan – the action plan that will take your current position to where you want to be. This is the exciting part of the process because it means action. This is when you get to pull the “levers” of the business and see changing performance.
Now-Where-How analysis ensures that your business plan does not simply become an operational plan, focusing on how you will run your business. It ensures that you are not stuck on an endless journey, without a destination. The continual use of this process is like referring to a road map. Always ask where is your business now, where do you want to get it to and how will you do it.
The Where part of the process will solve this.
What are you now required to do now?
Where is best seen as the strategic plan for your business. This is the plan that answers the question of where are you going and why? The strategic plan should look 3 to 5 years out and cover:
• Core values that guide the business and the reason that it exists
• Vision – where do you want the business to be positioned?
• What capabilities are required to achieve the vision?
• What are the competitive advantages of the business
• How will success be measured?