6 Pillars of Success – make sure they exist or can be acquired before signing off your next plan.

Every business needs to check that they have or can obtain the six fundamental pillars of success.

1. Markets and Customers  – it should be obvious but if we don’t have sufficient demand for our product or service versus our costs of production then we are going out backwards!  Don’t underestimate the need to keep your customers happy, nor that markets can rapidly change.  And just because you think there is a market for you new product doesn’t ensure success.  Be sure to test your assumptions carefully before launching into a new market.

2. Products and Services – OK so you think the market conditions are good and you have developed a product or service that is either currently in demand or going to wow your market.  Two perfect ingredients if your assumptions are proven correct.

3. Resources and Structure – do you have the resources to efficiently and effectively deliver the key activities that go to make up your value proposition?  Do you have your organisation structured to acquire and leverage all the inputs and to deliver your product to market?

4. Culture – the only true differentiator from your competitors.  Build it, nuture it and expose your customers to it.  No one can buy or copy your culture.

5. Processes – are much overlooked when developing and delivering good plans.  Many good ideas fail because of poorly developed processes.  How many of us have sat on the phone waiting for a call centre to answer only to be handed off somewhere else when you finally get through?

6. Technology – it should go without saying in this day of on line customer interactions and fast value creation and delivery that excellent supporting technology is needed to keep the business humming along.  It is certainly needed to provide great marketing tools, support key activities and help deliver exceptional customer service.  Technology is often one of your key resources as well, eg a CRM system for a sales force for example.

When developing new plans do a reality check to make sure you can acquire the 6 pillars of success.  I regularly do this when facilitating planning workshops.  It is amazing how many good ideas fall over when this reality test is applied!

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