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VOL. 127 | NO. 94 | Monday, May 14, 2012




‘OBM’ is Symptom Of Business Sickness

By Michael Graber & Jocelyn Atkinson

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MICHAEL GRABER & JOCELYN ATKINSON

Is your business haunted by the blinding ghosts that worked in another era? The wealthiest man in Japan, Tadashi Yanai, has a business plan that looks 300 years into the future, but allows for annual updates as a matter of course. To date, he’s worth more than $6 billion.

This testament to making what is unseen visible begs the question: why aren’t others planning and building according to plan?

Does your business have a real plan that gets updated each year? Hearsay speculates that less than 10 percent of all businesses are managed according to a plan that is more comprehensive than an annual set of target numbers. This is a problem.

Yet, we are all rich beyond our wildest imaginings: each human is endowed with 18 million brain cells. Most people and most businesses do not perform the necessary processes to attune this innate gift to their personal or business advantage.

It is a visionary act to craft a plan and it takes supreme discipline to review it each year. Vision and discipline together provide the courage to endure and keep working toward success despite setbacks and obstacles.

Many companies in the Mid-South suffer from a lack of vision and discipline. As a result. they are not growing. Here are several red flags:

* “We don’t have a five-year plan. We don’t have a five-month plan.”

* “Our revenue line has been the same for the past five years.”

* “Our industry is all ‘me, too,’ so we just copy what’s hot and get a little piece of that trend.”

It doesn’t matter if it is a manufacturing company, an importing concern, a logistics firm or a software business. This lack of vision relegates these businesses to react to the market. Instead of defining a new paradigm for their industries, they choose to wither, lose market share, and move further away from a leading position.

Even worse, without a plan companies make decisions based on what worked a decade or two decades ago, even though the rest of the world has moved on. OBM – or “old business model” – is a ghost that not only haunts businesses that do not have the discipline to revise a strategic plan each year. OBM also depletes ingenuity and vigor of a firm, keeping its head blindly in the past.

You can spot OBMs everywhere. It looks like the call-center business whose customers have stated that they prefer email to phone calls, but metrics keep employees working the phones and alienating customers. Every business has to shed some aspects of its OBM to stay present and add value to their client base.

Mr. Yanai doesn’t need to worry about OBMs because he has both a plan and vision that keep him focused, humble and growing. He has the certainty of a plan and the agility of adapting the plan each year. Yanai stays upbeat, takes ups and downs in stride. He claims “I might look successful but I’ve made many mistakes. People take themselves too seriously. You have to be positive and believe you will find success next time.”

Jocelyn Atkinson and Michael Graber run the Southern Growth Studio, a strategic growth firm based in Memphis. Visit www.southerngrowthstudio.com to learn more.

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RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 74 312 15,378
MORTGAGES 125 389 20,168
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 23 109 3,995
BUILDING PERMITS 431 872 36,714
BANKRUPTCIES 54 232 14,575
BUSINESS LICENSES 9 64 5,193
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 71 312 22,129
MARRIAGE LICENSES 10 83 4,746

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