Vantage Associates
Planning FAQs
Predicting the Future

Many people who are new to strategic planning struggle with the need to look into the future and assess what the world will look like in 5 or 10 years. Sometimes they give up and focus almost entirely on next month or next quarter. Many say that no one can predict the future so why try.

The process of planning is equal parts predicting the future and creating the future. Decisions you make today may have a profound impact on what the future brings. Although the future is never certain, we can use our judgment and our understanding of the present to project the future.

The technique I find most helpful is studying other businesses. The lifecycle of a business follows predictable patterns. Understanding those patterns and knowing where you are in the cycle provides a powerful tool for looking into the future.
What's Your Legacy?

Every leader or business owner will eventually begin to question his or her legacy. What will you leave behind for the next generation? How will history judge what you have accomplished over your career? How do you measure your own success? These are difficult, soul searching questions we must all ask ourselves from time to time.

The most common response is to look at the success of the business and the number of people employed. A leader also looks at the success of the people that have benefited from his or her leadership. Where have they gone and what have they done? People who have accumulated large fortunes can also establish foundations and fund buildings with their names.

I read a book last month that said we measure a person's legacy by the stories we tell about them when they are gone. I thought this was a very intriguing idea for a couple of reasons. One is that it recognizes that we all leave a legacy. You don't have to have millions or employ hundreds to think about the legacy you create. I also like it because it is true in our business and our personal lives. Mostly I liked it because it gives me another way of thinking about today. It connects the future with the present. It helps me manage my own personal priorities and think about my goals and objectives. A personal plan is just as important as a strategic plan for anyone who wants to leave a powerful legacy.
Poll Question
The poll question last quarter asked: What is the likelihood that gasoline will exceed $4.00 a gallon before the end of 2008? Here is the result:
50%Very Likely
25%Somewhat Likely
0%Don't Know
6%Somewhat Unlikely
19%Very Unlikely
Our poll question this quarter is: How likely is it that Barack Obama will be the next President of the United States?

  • Very Likely
  • Somewhat Likely
  • Don't Know
  • Somewhat Unlikely
  • Very Unlikely
  • We will report the results in the next issue. Click here to participate in our poll. You may return to the Poll Page to monitor the results as often as you like.
    Account Profitability
    Have you ever stopped to consider what determines account profitability? More specifically, what are the drivers of individual account profitability? Obviously this varies by industry but I think there are a few common principles:

  • Retention - Is there a lot of churn in your customer base?
  • Share of Business - What percent of your customers' needs are purchased from you?
  • Price - How important is price for gaining and retaining the business?
  • Selling and Service Costs - Are there hidden sales and service costs that don't show up in reports?
  • Account Selection - When was the last time your fired a customer?

  • Future Topics
  • Sales Management
  • Ownership vs Leadership
  • For more information contact Jim Sisson -
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