Business Chops for Pro AV: Tip #1

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It’s a pleasure to be part of the InfoComm All Voices Blog, where I hope to share some of the business and management tips we’ve developed at Stiernberg Consulting. Under the heading “Business Chops for Pro AV,” I’ll focus on planning tactics, competitive intelligence, trends, and business development decisions that optimize sales, profits, and growth of your business. Think of these Business Chops as your competitive advantage toolbox.

Creative and technical professionals (from musicians and actors, to system designers and project engineers) rely on their “chops”: those skills and techniques that they use to be successful on the job. We coined the term Business Chops to encompass those skills, experience, and tactics that you rely on to be more successful. Whether you’re an AV integrator, manufacturer, distributor, rep, or design consulting firm, this series of tips and techniques can help you get ahead.

So without further ado:

Business Chops Tip #1: Planning Is Your Most Effective Competitive Weapon

Why are some companies in our industry more successful than others? Hit products? Best prices or value? Great customer service? Those are all relevant, but they’re the results of focused business planning. Sales and profit growth need to be driven by planning — they don’t occur sustainably by accident.

Your strategic (three-year) plan outlines what you are going to do and why, within the context of the custom retail industry. Your operating (one-year) plan articulates how you are going to implement the strategy, how much it costs, and who is going to do the work. Relatively few of your competitors do planning beyond simple budgeting. Your business plan is a powerful competitive weapon.

“But I’m Too Busy To Plan!”

I hear this all the time in my consulting practice. Clients are too busy to do planning, mostly for two reasons. They are either, 1.) very successful and working hard to keep up with customer demand or 2.) struggling to find enough work to make ends meet. “No time to plan” is an easy excuse, a cop-out in both scenarios. You need to plan now more than ever.

Are you in that trap? Short of a comprehensive business plan, do you have a financial budget and set of tools for achieving it?

In today’s dynamic AV/IT industry, a solid plan is essential for success. How would you evaluate your company’s approach to business planning?

3 Responses to “Business Chops for Pro AV: Tip #1”

  1. Dear Geri and Cecil: Thanks for your comments. This is the time of year to turn up the heat on planning. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and best wishes for big success in 2014!

  2. Thank you John for sharing this with us. Every successful company has a well designed plan that was tested before implemented. No doubt some business are getting ROI faster than others under the same market.

  3. Oh man is this difficult to do. Maybe the next post should be about herding cats. Marketing is also a key component that should flow from planning. If you don’t define yourself the market will do it for you.