Understanding Customer Needs

Understanding your customers needs takes place as part of the Market Model.  

Understanding Customer Needs

It’s the next step down once you’ve defined your demographics. Some marketers use the phrase “job” as a way of describing the needs or underlying motivations of the customer.

You see many businesses are focused on the product or service and are only looking at the superficial levels of any transaction. To truly add value and satisfy your customer, you need to go deeper and understand the need. There’s a great YouTube video of Clayton Christensen discussing this in the link below:

Understanding the Job

The example given is that of a fast food company that wants to sell more milk shakes and embarks on a series of customer interviews designed to improve their product. So, the interviews were structured around the product, inviting people to answer questions about taste, price etc. The company went back and produced a better product but hey ho, sales did not improve.

After employing a specialist marketing consultancy to come in and observe behavior’s, they realised that half of milkshake sales happened before 8am in the morning. So, the following day the consultancy came back and questioned those customers about why they decided to go there and buy milk shakes at that time.

After analysing the responses, it was surprising to discover that they all had one thing in common – a lengthy and boring drive to work.

The job / need being satisfied was one of making the trip more pleasant by occupying one’s time.

Of the things they could have bought to make their journeys less boring where items such as bananas, bagels, chocolate but these all had draw backs. For instance, bananas lasted only a few minutes and they were hungry soon after; Bagels too filling and chocolate left them feeling guilty. Milk shake was the best choice because they could make it last up to 20 minutes, it was healthy enough not to feel guilty and it sat in the stomach long enough to interfere with bites later in the day.

So, how we would we go about understanding the job?

Here’s how.

  • Identify the specific demographic you want to explore further. In the case above it was milk shake purchasers
  • Engage those customers in a dialogue about the need. Structure these questions around a set of open and closed questions so you get to understand the conditions under which the need is satisfied, the triggers, the emotional states and what alternatives there are.
  • Explore what good and bad looks like. Not just for your product but all the alternatives

A useful product to use in a workshop setting is an Empathy Relationship Map, example below

The above example was completed with a popular members club in North London who wanted to attract younger ladies into its establishment.

A series of workshops with the 42 – 50-year-old demographic identified the need to socialise with other like-minded women in the area. The underlying need for these women was to feel a sense of belonging and connection. They needed an environment that was safe and supportive and that allowed them to feel comfortable.

As we talked further about the club, we discovered that they would not frequent it because, in their opinion, a small number of members dominated the club and were obsessed with football, sometimes drunken, loud and intimidating. Women often chose the alternatives of the local café’s because they were safe and clean. However, the cafés were often too small for a larger group and limited to tea and coffee and were they were not encouraged to stay.

The information gathered from the above map was translated into a Needs Analysis for that demographic.

And from this you can design and price your product.

Supplier Exit Strategy

In business, very few relationships are permanent. Change in the business environment and competition mean an ever increasing focus on the value of any relationship.

Business leaders should be thinking in the long term and assessing which relationships will provide value over the long term. It is all too easy for to think in terms of cost alone but this is where the danger lies

I have a current example of one of the companies I am consulting for. The client outsourced their IT to the lowest cost provider. The relationship deteriorated over a number of years in terms of value and personal relationship. System failure became increasingly common and change became increasingly costly and timely. This lead to a high turnover of staff at the front line who were targeted on sales results but increasingly frustrated with the systems that supported the sales processes.

A decision was made to exit the current agreement and go to market again.

However, as exiting as it was to start on a new path, it was painful to extract from incumbent. What became increasingly apparent was the lack of documentation that supported the systems. The current systems had not been invested in for a number of years and were held together with tactical fixes and patches. The incumbent supplier staff who had been managing the systems felt overly empowered by the weakness of the client. As a result of the power dynamic there was little motivation to assist in the extraction

Lessons learned in this scenario are:

1) Be aware there is power dynamic between client and supplier, which needs to be monitored and balanced over time

2) Put in place mechanisms for easy extraction at the end of any relationship i.e. retain key documentation (for instance, have a shared document vault

3) Keep you supplier motivated throughout the relationship, even towards the end. All people are motivated by rewards so don’t disrespect the exiting supplier. Find ways to keep them positively motivated

Business Blueprints

Today we’re going to talk about business blueprinting, which is in the domain of Business Architecture.

A blueprint is effectively a specific view of the business. The total collection of blueprints describes your business model.

Business blueprints are like a set of Architect’s drawings or a General’s battle maps. Generals use battle maps to show terrain, enemy positions or troops deployments. Business Strategists use business blueprints to show product positioning, organisational structures, capabilities and value generation processes.

At Rubik’s Cube we concentrate on a core set of blueprints as follows.

Market Blueprint

This blueprint focuses on understanding the demographics within your marketplace. It also details the customers core needs that require satisfying and which products and services satisfy that need at a detailed level

Service / Product Model

This blueprint provides details of products and services that your business supplies to its customers, at which location and at what price and in which volumes. It also list the particular attributes designed to appeal to the needs of the demographic

Process Model

This blueprint shows how value is generated in a series of Value Chains. Typical Value Chains include Marketing, Promotion, Sales, Operations. This model often also includes more detailed process maps

Capability Model

This blueprint provides a map of all the business capabilities. For instance, a business maybe capable of building a product to a specification in a set volume within a time period

Organisational Model

This blueprint is the view of the overall organisation including internal staff, suppliers, partners and any other stakeholders (investors for instance)

Information Model

Information is central to all businesses these days. This model builds a picture of the information requirements of the business. This could include sales reports or Search Engine Analytics

Technology Model

This blueprint includes all those technologies used by the organisation and customers within a given service or process

The Whole Is Greater than the Sum of the Parts

These products should be reviewed regularly by any business leader when reviewing strategy. They are great tools for assessing the impact of any strategy; They are great tools for building out a road map for implementation; They are great tools for understanding the cost of strategy at a more granular level.

These products are not designed to be used in isolation but support each other by providing inputs and outputs to each other

An example on how these come together is as follows.

The board of the Company X are aware that the latest trends show the emergence of a new product that’s being heavily promoted and gaining a lot of excitement in the market place. As a result, they agree a change in strategy and to re-position the company

The leadership team look at the Market Blueprint to see which demographics being served are affected by the new product. It identifies the Millennial demographic who are moving in the direction of this product because it serves X and Y purposes

The leadership team then look at the Product / Service Blueprint and see which products are in direct competition with the new product and identifies which particular attributes are better or worse than the competition.

After a number of workshops with the product specialists, the leadership team come back with a number of options for the board which include altering the existing product serving that demographic BUT at a specific cost or terminate the existing product and serve another demographic.

The board accept the recommendation to alter the existing product. The leadership team then looks at the process model to see which particular processes are affected by the new product. It concludes that Product Design, Manufacture and Promotion are key processes that will need to be reviewed.

On looking at the Capability Model for those capabilities used within the identified processes the team realize that they don’t have the key tools and skills to design and manufacture the new product.

The Organisation Model must then be updated to show which supplier can best complete the Design and Manufacture and the who will be responsible for overseeing supplier delivery.

The Technology Model also identifies that promotion requires a change in the method of advertising.

Out of these insight’s, one can then generate a plan.

We’ll come onto each one in the next set of blogs

What Is Strategy?

Today we’re going to come back to what strategy is and is not. Its important to know because people can get confused and this doesn’t help especially in the communication to those impacted by change. Here’s an interesting article in the Harvard Business Review called “Many Strategies Fail Because They’re Not Actually Strategies”.

Michael Porter, the celebrated professor of economics and business strategy at Harvard states that strategy is:

“defining a company’s position, making trade-offs, and forging a fit among activities. Strategy is about sustaining a unique competitive position, which serves to produce above average profits over time”

Strategy is not operational effectiveness

Strategy is not the same as operational effectiveness and in his ground breaking article “What is strategy?” , Michael Porter shows examples of how Japan lead the way in Total Quality Management and Continuous Improvement. In my own experience there is much focus on methods such as Agile, Lean and Kanban as ways of improving productivity and which impact cost and speed of delivery. But these in themselves are not strategies. Strategy does involve developing uniqueness and being aware of what’s critical for success with your chosen demographic(s). It’s about focusing on developing that uniqueness in a way that differentiates you from the competition. It offers your demographic a viable choice.

In order to truly have a strategy one must understand the overall market place and which particular demographics are over or under served. It involves then understanding the competition and then differentiating one’s self from the competition in a way that is difficult to copy. Coca Cola is a great example of a company that is difficult to copy. Their uniqueness is based on the taste of the product. See the wikipedia article “The Coca-Cola Company’s formula for Coca-Cola syrup, which bottlers combine with carbonated water to create the company’s flagship cola soft drink, is a closely guarded trade secret.”

Pharmaceutical companies develop new products and they remain unique for the life time of a patent which is typically 20 years. Once the patent has elapsed the active ingredient is copied and made generic such as Ibuprofen or Paracetamol. Profits tumble once the patent has elapsed and the uniqueness is lost. Astra Zeneca are a prime example of a company that were once hugely successful but lost there way when their pipeline of viable products reduced, and the big sellers became generic such as Symbicort.

When a company identifies how it wants to differentiate itself it needs to understand which capabilities underpin this uniqueness. The grouping of these capabilities is where the effort needs to be continually focused in order to retain competitive advantage. Business leaders need to be prepared to make trade off’s in order to maintain uniqueness. For instance, being the best in class may come a cost which erodes competitive advantage

Feel free to complete our free business model assessment if you want an insight into how you’re managing your business strategy

Strategy Maps

Today we are going to discuss the Strategy Map, which is a tool that allows you to understand the multi-tier nature of strategy and its impacts on other parts of the business

Strategy Maps where developed by Kaplan and Norton and set perspective’s for business including:

  • Financial
  • Customer
  • Process and
  • Development (Learning & Growth)

The beauty of this approach is that it allows you to understand the impacts and trade-offs required to implement an optimum strategy. 

Using the example in the Strategy Map tool in our store we start with restating our vision. This allows us to continually check alignment between our goals and our aims.

In this example we start with the main goal being profit. Profit doesn’t always have to be the main goal. There are times when your main goal maybe to increase value, improve quality or increase market share.

So, for this organisation, the overall goal is to generate £100,000 profit in the current forecast year. The business model here isn’t straight forward because this organisation subsidises members benefits by holding events for the public and from leasing out its flats.

So, an overall strategic goal has been broken down into a set of revenue goals and cost management goals. The revenue goals have been agreed across each of its lines of business.

Once these primary goals have been discussed, the next step is to look at the other perspectives. You can start with any other perspective; For this example, we have opted to choose the Customer Perspective next. So, to generate £15k of revenue we have agreed to lease out the flat, to generate £30k we have agreed to improve the attendance of existing members who haven’t visited in a long time and to generate circa £60k we will put on 36 new events.

The next question we ask for each business line is “what customer goals we need to support the financial strategy”. For instance, to generate 10% increased revenue from members we have decided to focus on the 300 members that haven’t attended in the last year and will need a strategy to put on new events to attract them in.

Once we have agreed a customer strategy, we can look at the process perspective. So, to put on new activities for non-attending members, we will first need to complete a survey to see which activities they want and then source the events. The survey is a process which fits under marketing and promotion processes and the sourcing of the activities is a process that fits under the sourcing of products and entertainment processes.

Finally, we look at people and tools / technology. The identification of processes allows us to understand which people are impacted by change and what tools they need to support the strategy. In our example here we need to recruit more staff to support new events and we will need a marketing tool to promote through the channels that will attract the public to the new events.

Feel free to complete our free business model assessment if you want an insight into how you’re managing your business strategy

Competitive Positioning

Today we are going to discuss competitive positioning within are Industry Scan using an example of a local business we completed some work for in Southgate, Enfield.

This local business wanted to introduce food into the establishment after reading a breadth of market reports on the state of the pubs industry. The overall view was that pubs and clubs where diversifying more into food due to the loss of wet sales and closure of 1000’s pubs and clubs over time.

And so, we undertook a review of the sort of food that could be provided, where the trends where going and what the competition looked like.

The thing about strategy is that it doesn’t just operate in isolation of the market place. We often use two terms to talk about strategy and these are:

  • Doing the right thing –           obtaining the optimum market position
  • Doing things right      –           executing the strategy in order to deliver the chosen product or service

In order to review the competition, you need to know what the critical success factors are for your industry and demographic. We wrote about this in a previous blog critical success factors.

And so, for our product we determined that our demographic where both food quality conscious and price conscious. Based on that information we undertook some research of all the cafes and restaurants on Chase Side, Southgate where all the competition was.

Above is a simple perceptual map that was built up which showed that the majority of food outlets where under the category of fast food of reasonable quality and so the choice to enter the higher end of quality at a reasonable price was a good fit for the market

Feel free to complete our free business model assessment if you want an insight into how you’re managing your business strategy

Critical Success Factors

Business Transformation Lifecycle

Key Terms: Critical Success Factors, Event Management, Scorecards, Performance Metrics, Industry Scan

Today we are going to review Critical Success Factors as part of our Industry San. So, why is the identification of Critical Success Factors so important? Because they allow us to prioritise those elements that are crucially important to the running of the business and can be used to put some metrics and reports in place to monitor performance

So, let’s look at an example using our previously identified company “Bespoke Events”. This company operate in the Event Management space, so we’ll take a look at the industry.

A Quick Industry Scan

According to the article “8 Key Elements of Event Planning That Will Make Event a Grand Success”, the following success factors apply to Event Management

  1. Event Purpose
  2. Know your Audience
  3. Appropriate timing of the event
  4. Having a detailed event plan
  5. Ensuring event content can attract the audience
  6. Promotion: Design of the message you want to through the event
  7. Lead capture

Converting Critical Success Factors to Processes and Metrics

Let’s look at these in a table below, with a view to understanding the processes around them and how we want to track them

On the back of this piece of work we will now want to generate a report to track each of these and then setup a regular review. We’ll come onto that in a later blog

In general – Critical Success Factors

When looking at Critical Success Factors we want to:

  • Identify the things that really matter for success
  • Don’t do too many.
    • It’s important to be able to see the woods for the trees
    • You want a simple message to the team so that they are all pulling the right direction

From a Business Transformation perspective we will want to take a look at these metrics and add them to our Business Model Canvas in terms of future state goals.

For further reading developing Critical Success Factors read Critical Success Factors Simplified

Feel free to complete our free business model assessment if you want an insight into how you’re managing your business strategy

Creating a Vision and Mission Statement

Creating or re-checking your organisations Vision and Mission statements are the first two steps in the Rubik’s Cube Business Transformation Lifecycle. Vision and mission statements are crucial to the success of all the follow-on activities and initiatives for any organisation. These statements communicate to your customers in a concise manner why you exist i.e. your purpose. Furthermore, the help focus you organisation on what is important.

What is a Vision Statement?

Your vision is the motivational juice, not just for you but for your staff and partners. It’s what you dream about. If I was a manager of a sports club, I’d be dreaming of holding up trophies. I’d be dreaming of all the fan’s singing and shouting, we won the cup.

Remember Martin Luther Kings “I have dream speech”. It’s worth looking at again:

  • I have a dream that one day this nation will rise-up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal.”
  • I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
  • I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
  • I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

 

A link is inserted here for those who would like to read more. “I have a dream”

So, here’s an example of Amazon’s vision statement

Amazon vision statement

Characteristics that good vision statements have in common are as follows. They need to be:

  • Understood and shared by members of the community
  • Broad enough to include a diverse variety of local perspectives
  • Inspiring and uplifting to everyone involved in your effort
  • Easy to communicate – for example, they are generally short enough to fit on a T-shirt

What is a mission statement?

A mission statement says what part you will be play in making the vision come true and defines what your purpose is i.e. the reason your business exists. In the example of a sports club, it maybe something like “be the number 1 provider of badminton services in the local area”. For a health care provider, it could be “”Promoting care and caring at the end of life through coalitions and advocacy.”

Some general guiding principles about mission statements are that they are:

  • Concise. Short and to the point
  • Outcome-oriented. Explain the fundamental outcomes your organisation is working to achieve.
  • Inclusive. Good mission statements are not limiting in the strategies or sectors of the community that may become involved in the project.

The following examples should help you understand what we mean by effective mission statements.

  1. Google: To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful
  2. ABVI: I Lost My Sight, Not My Vision
  3. U.S. Army: Duty, Honor, Country
  4. Sony: To be a company that inspires and fulfills your curiosity
  5. Tailor Brands: Making Design Simple
  6. Headframe Spirits: Every Drop Is Made with Respect
  7. IKEA: To create a better everyday life for the many people
  8. TED: Spread Ideas
  9. Mary Kay: Enrich Women’s Lives
  10. Starbucks: Inspire and Nurture the Human Spirit

Why should you create vision and mission statements?

Firstly, because help your organisation focus on what is important. It is all too easy to lose sight of this with the rigors and hassles of day to day management. Your vision and mission statements help people remember what is important as you go about doing your daily work.

Secondly, it helps you position yourself against other similar organisations. For instance, you may want to be quicker than your rivals so you may want to spell this i.e. “be the most responsive provider of ….

Finally, it binds us all to a common purpose, overcoming divisions in our individual objectives.

How do you create vision and mission statements?

Learn what is important to people in your community

Vision and Mission statements have to be grounded in the beliefs and values of the community. If the people of the world didn’t want information organised and easily accessible would Google be as successful as they are? Knowing the important issues in your community as essential.

So, step 1, define what matters most in your community. Some suggestions below

Conduct “public forums” or “listening sessions” with members of the community to gather ideas, thoughts, and opinions about how they would like to see the community transformed.

Meetings should be led by facilitators who can guide a discussion of what people perceive to be the community ‘s strengths and problems, and what people wish the community was like. Someone should record these meetings, and a transcript of what is said provides a basis for subsequent planning.

Hold focus groups with the people interested in addressing the issue(s), including community leaders, people most affected by the issues, businesses, church leaders, teachers, etc.

Focus groups are similar to public forums and listening sessions, but they are smaller and more intimate. Generally speaking, they are comprised of small groups of people with similar backgrounds, so they will feel comfortable talking openly about what concerns them. For example, the members of a group are generally about the same age, are of the same ethnic group, or have another common experience. They are used in much the same way as public forums, and also use facilitators and recorders to focus and take notes on the work done.

Your organisation may choose to hold focus groups with several different groups of people, to get the most holistic view of the issue at hand. For example, if your organisation is involved in child health, you might have one focus group with health care providers, another with parents or children, and still another with teachers. Once you have a rough mission statement, you might again use a focus group to test it out.

Obtain interviews with people in leadership and service positions, including such individuals as local politicians, school administrators, hospital and social service agency staff, about what problems or needs they believe exist in your community.

Often, these individuals will have both facts and experiences to back up their views. If so, you can also use these data later if and when you apply for funding, or when you request community support to address the issues. More information on this topic can be found in Chapter 3, Section 12: Conducting Interviews.

Of course, these different ways to gather information from you community aren’t mutually exclusive. In fact, if you have the resources, it makes sense to do all of the above: to have some time for the community at large to respond, then spend more time in focus groups with the people you believe might contribute greatly to (or be most affected by) some of the issues brought up in your community listening session. And finally, some one on one time with community leaders can only serve to strengthen your knowledge and purpose; remember, there are undoubtedly many people in your community who have been wrestling with the same issues you are now looking at for a long time. Take advantage of that experience; you don’t want to reinvent the wheel!

Decide what to ask

No matter if you are talking to one person or 300, your purpose is the same: to learn what matters in your community. Here’s a list of questions you might use to focus your discussions with community members. These questions may be used for individual interviews, focus groups, public forums, or in any other way you choose to gather information.

  • What is your dream for our community?
  • What would you like to see change?
  • What kind of community (or program, policy, school, neighborhood, etc.) do we want to create?
  • What do you see as the community’s (or school’s, neighborhood’s, etc.) major issues or problems?
  • What do you see as the community’s major strengths and assets?
  • What do you think should be the purpose of this organisation (or effort)?
  • Why should these issues be addressed?
  • What would success look like?

When your organisation is questioning people, the facilitator should encourage everyone to allow their most idealistic, hopeful, and positive ideas to shine through. Don’t worry right now about what’s practical and what’s not – this can be narrowed down later. Encourage everyone to be bold and participate, and to remember that you are trying to articulate a vision of a better community, and a better world.

Decide on the general focus of your organisation

Once members of your organisation have heard what the community has to say, it ‘s time to decide the general focus of your organisation or initiative. First of all, what topic is most important to your organisation and your community? For example, will you tackle urban development or public health issues? Racism or economic opportunity?

A second question you will need to answer is at what level will your organisation work. Will your organisation begin only in one school, or in one neighborhood, or in your city? Or will your initiative’s focus be broader, working on a state, national, or even international level.

These are questions for which there are no easy answers. Your organisation will need to consider what it has learned from the community and decide through thoughtful discussion the best direction for your organisation. We suggest you open this discussion up to everyone in your organisation to obtain the best results.

Of course, if your organisation is receiving grant money or major funding from a particular agency, the grant maker may specify what the general goal of your group should be. For example, if your group accepts a grant to reduce child hunger, at least part of its mission will be devoted to this purpose. Even in these circumstances, however, the community should determine the ultimate vision and mission that will best advance what matters to local people.

Develop your vision and mission statements

Now that your organisation has a clearer understanding of what the organisation will do and why, you are in a prime position to develop the statements that will capture your ideas.

As you are looking at potential statements, remember to keep them broad and enduring. Vision and mission statements that are wide in scope allow for a sense of continuity with a community’s history, traditions, and broad purposes. And vision and mission statements that are built to last will guide efforts both today and tomorrow.

Vision Statements

First of all, remind members of your organisation that it often takes several vision statements to fully capture the dreams of those involved in a community improvement effort. You don’t need – or even want – to have just one “perfect” phrase. Encourage people to suggest all of their ideas and write them down – possibly on poster paper at the front of the room, so people can be further inspired by the ideas of others. As you do this, help everyone keep in mind:

  • What you have learned from your discussions with community members
  • What your organisation has decided will be your focus
  • What you learned about vision statements at the beginning of this sectionAfter you have brainstormed a lot of ideas, your group can discuss critically the different ideas. Oftentimes, several of the vision statements will just jump out at you – someone will suggest it, and people will just instantly think, “That’s it!”
  • You can also ask yourselves the following questions about vision statements:
  • If you have a hard time getting started, you might wish to check out some of the vision statements in this section’s Examples. You might ask yourself how well they meet the above suggestions.
  • Will it draw people to common work?
  • Does it give hope for a better future?
  • Will it inspire community members to realize their dreams through positive, effective action?
  • Does it provide a basis for developing the other aspects of your action planning process?
  • A final caution: try not to get caught up in having a certain number of vision statements for your organisation. Whether you ultimately end up with two vision statements or ten, what is most important is that the statements together give a holistic view of the vision of your organisation.

Mission Statements

The process of writing your mission statement is much like that for developing your vision statements. The same brainstorming process can help you develop possibilities for your mission statement. Remember, though, that unlike with vision statements, you will want to develop a single mission statement for your work. After having brainstormed for possible statements, you will want to ask of each one:

  • Does it describe what your organisation will do and why it will do it?
  • Is it concise (one sentence)?
  • Is it outcome oriented?
  • Is it inclusive of the goals and people who may become involved in the organisation?
  • Together, your organisation can decide on a statement that best meets these criteria

Obtain consensus on your vision and mission statements

Once members of your organisation have developed your vision and mission statements, your next step might be to learn what other members of your community think of them before you start to use them regularly.

To do this, you could talk to the same community leaders or focus group members you spoke to originally. First of all, this can help you ensure that they don’t find the statements offensive in any way. For example, an initiative that wants to include young men more fully in its teen pregnancy prevention project might have “Young men in Asheville are the best informed” as one of their vision statements. But taken out of context, some people community members might believe this statement means young men are given better information or education than young women, thus offending another group of people.

Second, you will want to ensure that community members agree that the statements together capture the spirit of what they believe and desire. Your organisation might find it has omitted something very important by mistake.

Decide how you will use your vision and mission statements

Finally, it’s important to remember that while developing the statements is a huge step for your organisation (and one you should celebrate!), there is more work to be done. Next, you have to decide how to use these statements. Otherwise, all of your hard work will have happening for nothing. The point is to get the message across.

There are many, many ways in which your organisation may choose to spread its vision and mission statements. To name just a few examples, you might:

  • Add them to your letterhead or stationary
  • Use them on your website
  • Give away T-shirts, or bookmarks, or other small gifts with them
  • Add them to your press kit
  • Use them when you give interviews
  • Display them on the cover of your annual report
  • …and so on. Again, this is a step that will use all of your creativity.

In Summary

Developing effective vision and mission statements are two of the most important tasks your organisation will ever do, because almost everything else you do will be affected by these statements. We hope that this section has allowed you to feel more confident now in your group’s ability to create successful and inspiring vision and mission statements. Remember, think broadly and boldly! Good luck!

Feel free to complete our free business model assessment if you want an insight into how you’re managing your business strategy

Your Business – looking at the big picture

Below is a picture of our Business Transformation Model. Looking at the big picture is referred to assessing the Macro Environment. This sits at the start of our business change journey.

So why do we want to look at the big picture?

Answer: Because there are forces acting on your industry that may present obstacles and / or opportunities that you are not currently aware of. Looking at the big picture is akin to a army’s General being aware of the politics that may affect his army. For instance, a change in government could see funds reduced and if the General has specific objectives that he must accomplish to achieve his mission he may need to taking mitigating steps to avoid those risks.

Bear in mind that when looking at the big picture you can be overwhelmed with information, especially when researching on the internet. A useful filter to use when researching the macro environment are your Mission and Vision Statements. The clearer these are, the more precise you can be in your research. For more information on developing Vision and Mission Statements look at this blog post “Developing Your Vision and Mission Statement”

So, let’s look at an example of a company based, which we will randomly select in the North London area.

Company Background

Our randomly chosen company is an Events Company based in North London called Bespoke Events. The company manages events at prestigious facilities in and around North London. The company’s Mission is as follows:

“To maintain our position at the forefront of event design & production, combining contemporary design philosophy with classic five-star hospitality standards and settings”

Its aspiration or vision is to manage events across the UK and Worldwide and currently manages events around London.

Approach

Using a PESTLE analysis, we can look at the forces acting upon the industry. PESTLE stands for Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal and Environmental,

Politics

A useful article has been written by the website Access All Areas. In its article “Policy wars – are government regulations negatively impacting festivals?”, Stuart Wood discusses the issue of visas. In summer 2018 a number of directors of some of Britain’s biggest festivals signed an open letter to the government, asking for greater transparency in the visa process. This was precipitated by a “string of refusals and complications for authors, artists and musicians who had been invited to perform in the UK”.

Obviously Brexit is current on everyone’s mind and the government has published its report on Brexit called “Implications for Business and Trade of a No Deal Exit on 29 March 2019”.

The summary statements are as follows:

  1. The Government’s primary aim is to ensure that the UK leaves the EU on 29 March with a negotiated deal which will honour the result of the referendum.
  2. The Government has undertaken significant action to prepare for a potential no deal scenario
  3. Leaving the European Union without a deal on 29 March would have a variety of effects on business, trade and the economy, and despite government mitigation, the impact of a ‘no deal’ scenario is expected to be significant in a number of areas
  4. Since the referendum in June 2016, the Government’s priority has been to secure the best possible deal for the country from the EU and deliver that through Parliament. However, it has also been preparing for other possible outcomes, including a no deal scenario as a contingency
  5. The Government has taken strategic policy decisions to minimise disruption and provide certainty to businesses and citizens should a no deal scenario arise
  6. The Government has taken further decisions to increase the visibility and intensity of its no deal preparations
  7. In February, Departments reported being on track for just under 85% of no deal projects but, within that, on track for just over two thirds of the most critical projects
  8. The Treasury has made in excess of £4bn available for EU Exit planning since 2016, £2bn of which was allocated in December 2018 to support core EU exit preparations for the 19-20 financial year
  9. The Government also continues to work with the Scottish and Welsh Governments and, in the absence of an Executive in Northern Ireland, the Northern Ireland Civil Service, to make preparations for a potential no deal scenario
  10. The Government has also been working where possible to adopt agreements made between the EU and third countries transitionally, which would otherwise fall away once the UK leaves the EU
  11. Around forty of these agreements are trade agreements
  12. Where discussions are off track, the Government is looking urgently at contingency options, such as provisional application and bridging mechanisms (e.g. Memoranda of Understanding) to bring agreements into force on exit

The government now has a tool to prepare your business for leaving the EU, see link

“Prepare your business for the UK leaving the EU”

From the perspective of the events industry some commentators say “As a hub for events from all across Europe, there are some concerns that the UK’s departure from the Single Market could lead it to be viewed as an ‘outsider’ destination for European companies looking to hold large events. In fact, 60 per cent of the respondents to a recent Business Visits & Events Partnership survey said they thought this could be a problem.”

Economics

In his article in Raconteur Magazine, “Events industry helps power UK economy”, Mike Fletcher states that “people who attend events, along with the organisers of UK meetings, conferences, festivals, concerts, exhibitions, sporting spectacles, plus incentive travel and reward programmes, now spend £39.1 billion annually. This is an increase of over £3billion on 2011.

The latest industry figures show that the Events Industry to be currently worth a massive £43billion each year.

The Eventbrite 2019 Pulse Report states “with Brexit looming, 2019 is undoubtedly full of uncertainty for all UK event creators. However, it’s heartening to see this uncertainty is not being reflected in industry growth figures. Nearly 40% of respondents actually expect their event budget to increase this year, while a further 43% expect theirs to stay the same.

In terms of headcount, the Pulse Report states “Growth can be seen in the number of events being organised too. Nearly 60% of our survey respondents said their company plans to run more events in 2019 than they did last year. Self-employed creators in particular have their sights set on growth, with 70% stating they will increase the number of events they run.”

Social

In her insightful article “Sustainable Issues and The Events Industry”, Ioana Dobos discusses the three pillars of sustainability, 1) environmental 2) social and 3) economic.

She states that “sustainability aims to meet the needs of the current generation, ensuring that these current needs are not bringing any negative impacts for the future generations”

She states that sustainability authors argue that organisations use sustainability and ethical practices as a marketing tool to promote and differentiate themselves from other competitors on the market.

She refers to the social impact of individuals travelling internationally and seeing events within the broader travel and tourism industry. Although these events maybe beneficial to the economy we need to take into consideration the wider social impacts. She goes on to discuss the Triple Bottom Line of People, Planet and Profits introduced by John Elkington in 1994.

Note: The International Standards Organisation have published a standard on sustainable Events Management. See link ISO 20121 – Sustainable events.

Technology

The event industry in the UK has seen massive changes in Technology. According to Pulse Magazine, “in line with previous years, the most commonly used technology is event apps – 39% utilised them in 2018. But a close second is cashless payments, being used by 34% of respondents. Cashless payment technology enables event attendees to link their debit card to their badge or wristband eliminating the need for cash and speeding up queues”

According to Venture Pact, the top Mobile Event apps for Conferences and Corporate events are as follows:

  1. EventBoard
  2. Webmobi
  3. Times Events App
  4. BusyConf
  5. Whova
  6. Grupio
  7. myQaa
  8. TapCrowd
  9. QuickMobile
  10. SpotMe
  11. EventFriendly:
  12. Eventmobi
  13. CrowdCompass
  14. Pathable
  15. Attendify
  16. Eventbase
  17. EventAtlas

Legal

GDPR is an obvious concern for everyone with new legislation passed to protect consumer information. GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulation and UK Governments Guide is offered here (GDPR Guide).

EventsForce has written the following article on GDPR, “Top 10 GDPR Red Flags for Meetings and Events”. Its interesting to note their research that states 50% of event planners believe they have not done enough to meet the GDPR regulations. Below are a list of top 10 issues:

  1. Legacy Lists
  2. Consent
  3. Processors vs Controllers
  4. Business Size
  5. Data Breach Deadlines
  6. Subject Access Requests
  7. Focus on Fines
  8. Data Transfer Shortcuts
  9. Geographic Location
  10. Inadequate Training of Staff

Other regulations that must be satisfied are:

  • Event Insurance
  • Event Facilities
  • Licensing
  • Food and Beverage Regulations
  • Health and Safety
  • Contracts

Environment

The Event Impacts website has an article called Why measure Environmental Impact?. This interesting article has lots of interesting material relating to the following areas:

  • Waste Impacts
  • Energy Impacts
  • Water Impacts
  • Transport and Travel Impacts
  • Food and Drink Impacts

I hope you find this approach useful. Please bear in mind that this is an example and any research we conduct for our customers is completed within agreed boundaries and criteria.

Feel free to complete our free business model assessment if you want an insight into how you’re managing your business strategy

Understanding Your Business Strengths and Weaknesses

Before looking a strategy a business leader must know his current starting position. A useful tool for doing this is the SWOT analysis

The SWOT Analysis is used to assess potential opportunities in the market place as well as manage potential threats. It also useful for looking internally at your organisation to assess strengths and weaknesses. By  looking at yourself and your competitors you can develop a strategy to distinguish yourself from your competitors.

You can use it at a high level to quickly assess the current state of your business or you can use it to support a more detailed assessment.

An example of a SWOT analysis is shown below

Strengths

  • We are able to respond very quickly as we have no red tape, and no need for higher management approval.
  • We are able to give really good customer care, as the current small amount of work means we have plenty of time to devote to customers.
  • Our lead consultant has a strong reputation in the market.
  • We can change direction quickly if we find that our marketing is not working.
  • We have low overheads, so we can offer good value to customers.

Weaknesses

  • Our company has little market presence or reputation.
  • We have a small staff, with a shallow skills base in many areas.
  • We are vulnerable to vital staff being sick or leaving.
  • Our cash flow will be unreliable in the early stages.

Opportunities

  • Our business sector is expanding, with many future opportunities for success.
  • Local government wants to encourage local businesses.
  • Our competitors may be slow to adopt new technologies.

Threats

  • Developments in technology may change this market beyond our ability to adapt.
  • A small change in the focus of a large competitor might wipe out any market position we achieve.

As a result of their analysis, the consultancy may decide to specialize in rapid response, good value services to local businesses and local government.

Marketing would be in selected local publications to get the greatest possible market presence for a set advertising budget, and the consultancy should keep up-to-date with changes in technology where possible.

You can download our FREE SWOT Template. Feel free to share and if you need any advise on completing one, please feel free to get in touch via our Contact Us page

Feel free to complete our free business model assessment if you want an insight into how you’re managing your business strategy