One of the more daunting challenges of management of a product line is ensuring your near-term and long-range business plans are in harmony . As Peter Drucker put it, “If a manger does not take care of the next one hundred days, there will be no next one hundred years.”
The goal is to put together long-range guidelines for your business growth. These guidelines give general guidance to the thought process for business and/or product line growth. If developed with sufficient rigor, they will provide a framework into which the shorter-term projects, initiatives, and promotions will fit.
There will always be a trade-off between or balancing of the long-term and short-term goals. One mustn’t forsake long-term and profitable growth for short-term or immediate gratification unless the business’ circumstances require it for near-term survival. Conversely, one should not be so “thoughtful” about the long-term business that current performance suffers. The manager’s individual personality and experience will have a great deal of impact on this balance between “then” and “now.”
This balance is something I struggle with at times in some of my endeavors. Only by forcing myself to look at the current business and asking “what should I be doing to make a difference now?” I bring the two realms back into a profitable balance.
How do you balance the short- and long-terms?
Are you more of a thinker/planner or a doer?
How can you better balance the two sides?
Has this ever happened to you?
You need to hire a service so you GOOGLE it and find a list of providers. Instead of calling them, you send a message to them via their website. Eventually, someone contacts you, via anti-social media, maybe even several someones, and after a few back-and-forth messages, you break down and call them. Expert hired.
Here is my story.
I need to get the oil changed in my SUV. I contacted the local Toyota dealer and a local service center I’ve used before via their online appointment scheduling app. This is what happened to me and at the end of the process, it struck me how ineffective and inefficient it was.
- The Toyota dealer has not contacted me after 2 days
- The service center did call me, but 4 hours later
- I called the service center I typically use and talked to Josh. He knew me and was able to find my information quickly and we set the appointment for Saturday morning. Done in 2 minutes which is less time than it took me to complete the forms on the other 2 websites.
What does this have to do with Product Management and Product Launches?
The answer is – A GREAT DEAL! This is a perfect example of form overcoming the function of an activity.
- The activity is scheduling an appointment.
- The form in this case was an actual “form” on a website
- The function of the form was to get an appointment. It failed.
- Talk to people. Your customers are not companies, corporations, governments or communities. Your customers are people. The primary inter-personal communication tool is voice. Use Bell’s invention and the 2 minute conversation will contain more information and meta-data than a dozen e-mails or text messages.
- Do not expect social media to replace human interaction UNLESS instant gratification can be ensured. In my example above, if those websites would have let me schedule the appointment in real-time, then the Toyota dealer or the first service center would have my business. They didn’t and they lost.
- Lesson #3 is written for me but you are free to use it. Remembering lessons #1 and #2 will make life simpler and more productive.