A basic understanding of your marketplace no longer cuts it. Companies big and small need to start asking questions of themselves to first understand where they are and second to see where the opportunities are for them. Here are a few questions to get your creative juices going:
1. How is your company really fairing in the marketplace?
2. How do you stack up against current and potential competitors?
3. What innovations are the other guys making that you haven’t put into place?
4. What could you be doing that would give you an edge over them?
5. What other markets, product lines, or services could you develop to grow your business?
6. What is happening in the macroworld, beyond your own vertical industry?
7. What actions can you observe, among your current and future customers, that speak louder than their words?
Another great tool to open the mind is play the “what if…” game. What if a new big player entered our industry? What if we lost that big account? What if we were the target of a hostile takeover?
A final question to ponder – How well do you know your customer?