gilgerretsenmasterFor the first time ever, I am opening up my blog to a guest contributor… and it’s about time too. I should have started doing this years ago. Today’s guest post comes to us from local business and strategy coach Gill Gerretsen, who is arguably one of the most recognizable (and some might say influential) business figures in South Carolina.

Through BizTrek and Power-Note, Gil  has both helped and connected hundreds (if not thousands) of SC business owners over the last few years, and his community is still growing by leaps and bounds. (No big surprise there.) Aside from being brilliant, Gil happens to be a super nice guy, which goes a long way in my little world. We’re lucky to have Gil share some of his business insight with us today.

And as a bonus, Gil makes his point a heck of a lot faster than I do. (There’s a lot to be said for that.)

Fast Thinking

Most corporate executives spend less than 2.4% of their time actively thinking about the future. But the ability to anticipate is one of the key ingredients of success.

If you race ahead without knowing where you are headed, you may get there fast, but it will probably not be the place you wanted to end up. We see that happening a lot in today’s economic environment. Far too many business leaders never thought or planned for a serious economic realignment. For many, the possibility never even crossed their mind!

In contrast, entrepreneurs spend the majority of their time trying to imagine and anticipate the future … and then try to figure out how they can operate effectively in that environment. What steps can you take to better understand and predict the future?

1. Begin by looking backward. Studying the trends and cycles of the past will improve your ability to imagine the future. Remember the slinky? Eventually, the other end makes a landing. It is not in exactly the same place, but the patterns ARE predictable.

2. Figure out the next life cycle for your business. Every revolutionary idea unfolds in five phases. First, the idea is invented. Second, key enabling technologies allow the innovation to spread. Third, a key insight turns a technological possibility into a commercial application. Fourth, a business process emerges to generate profits from an unmet market need. Fifth, the product or service eventually becomes a commodity and price wars erupt. Then, consolidation shrinks the field of viable market contenders to just a few suppliers (often three).

3. As Michael Gerber taught in his book, The E-Myth, work ON your business, not IN your business! Spend at least one day per month out of the office to think and anticipate where you might be able to take your business.

What are YOU thinking about the future?

Gil Gerretsen

Have a great Thursday, everyone. 🙂

Speaking of Thursdays, today happens to be Power-Note’s April luncheon, so I will undoubtedly see several of you there.

PS: If any of you are interested in becoming a guest contributor on the BrandBuilder blog, send me an email or shoot me a direct message either on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook (links are on right hand side of page.)