Today’s global marketplace has made everything small, and it’s not easy to be a successful player. A medium size manufacturer, for example, might find itself battling companies it never heard of, from places in the world it has never visited, with products directly pointed at their own. Or, a high-end professional services firm who promotes its leading programming and metrics could be caught short by a widget that is offered for free by a much smaller firm interested in attracting new clients.

These types of transitions are not reserved for larger corporations and their brands anymore, which are far more equipped to compile market data and compete effectively on many fronts. But even they are sometimes caught off guard and make the wrong investments not understanding the true needs of its customers. Take Microsoft and the entire mobile industry that passed them by, for instance.

This is a new world that demands you know what your market wants and can deliver it in new ways using new strategies that grab attention and close business.

Living in the past is one of the most massive mistakes any individual or organization can make. Instead, they should consider their organization’s current position relative to its customers and competition and then decide if it is on track or off. Tactical approaches should not be thought of as solutions. Strategies are solutions and tactics should implement them. Here’s a chart that makes this strategic planning process simpler in bite size steps.

Just because a company can make a profit successfully by doing what it has always done doesn’t necessarily make it a wise strategic course. CEO’s sometimes are so closed to new ideas and new strategies not found within their direct ranks they miss enormous opportunities to grow. Some keep their nose deeply buried in the business of the business, and they are busy! Meanwhile, they push off innovators and idea people preferring to “get the work out” and they call this a good thing.

The statistics do not bear out the wisdom of this mindset. How many companies can you think of that were once doing quite well that are no longer in business or are a fraction of their previous selves? Being open to new strategies and ways to develop them can make a vast difference in both the short and long term performance of any company. It’s refreshing to meet a company with this mindset. It’s the company with a future.