After all of the planning and work that goes into the development of our annual business and strategic plans, the new year is nearly upon us. Now comes the time when we start to execute all of those lofty and ambitious tactics and strategies that we said three months ago would bring us success in the coming year. The question is, are those plans that we worked so hard on still applicable, and will we know how to measure their impact?
As is so often the case, expert projections for the coming year vary somewhat depending on what markets you are considering. In addition, different industry leaders have somewhat different thoughts on our performance, so there is seldom a “clear consensus” on what to expect. With that said, there seems to be a general school of thought that 2017 will not be a great year, but will also not be an awful year. To that point, CBRE has recently summarized their 2017 projection in one word; “flat.”
“Flat,” in light of the historically high cycle that we have all been riding for many years, is not at all a bad thing. In fact, many will take this assessment and interpret it to mean that, while they may not achieve material revenue and profitability growth in 2017, there is really no reason to expect things to move backwards. This is where we at Titan would respectfully disagree.
A year that is projected by industry experts to offer what is essentially zero growth, even viewed in the most optimistic sense, is a year that represents the potential for significant risk. One does not need to be a math major to know that the difference between zero growth and 1, 2, or 3% decline skirts a very fine line. Knowing all of this, a “flat” year must be thought of as a year in which the relentless commitment to our business plan strategies has never been more important.
Experience tells us that the very best of plans that are documented in our Business or Strategic Plans when they are being developed in Q3 and Q4 sometimes fall to the wayside when Q1 of the new year arrives. It is not out of the question for market conditions to change in as little as 3 or 4 months, and it is certainly not out of the question for our own conditions, i.e. staffing changes, competitive changes, etc. to occur in such a period as well.
So where are we headed? Now is not the time to be thinking about a revised Business or Strategic Plan for 2017, unless the detailed review of your Business or Strategic Plan for 2017 dictates such a course of action. This, of course, is exactly the point. Now is the time to be closely reviewing your 2017 plan, right on down to the detail of the tactics that you intend to employ, to make sure that everything that you said back in September, and everything that your management company or brand approved back in October, is still 100% relevant.
With all of the time, effort, and brainpower that you have already committed to your plans for the coming year, another look with the benefit a few more months of history and market intelligence seems a very small price to pay. Let’s remember, a “flat” year for some is a “negative” year for others, and a “positive” year for still others.
Are you in the best possible position to be in the black in the new year?