As you know, I love Vermont and spend about 30% of my time working from there with more time on the weekends doing what every Vermonter does: shovel snow, rake leaves, tend my woodlot and plant gardens. Plus, every time I'm there, including this weekend, I always take some time out to admire the unique beauty of Vermont by walking down to the river or just looking across to the now-turning leaves on the other side of the pond just up the road a piece.
Six generations of my family before me were born and lived in this same valley, and although I call myself "a Vermonter", I always leave out the fact that I was born and lived my early years in a tough neighborhood on the south side of Chicago. Maybe I'm "a-kind-of Vermonter" since I've lived in this same valley for 50 years, but I do know my place in that I am not "a true Vermonter". Those are Vermont Rules!
Yes, it's mid-September, and, yes, the leaves are beginning to turn here in southern Vermont. As I write this, the maple out at the end of the driveway is flaming red. With the long weekend of October 8th, leaves will be at their peak...and then it's abruptly over that Monday as everyone quickly shifts to prep for the winta' in what we call taint as in taint summa', taint winta'.
The importance of leaf peepin' in VT is that, as a state, its population is tiny (more people live in Boston.)
- Tourism counts for 15% of the state's GDP.
- Tourism is 22% of its employment.
- Tourism brings in 13 million visitors a year
- 25% of all tourism is concentrated in leaf peepin' during just 4-6 weeks
And, if it rains in the prime week, or we have another surprise blizzard with 18" of snow, which occurred 10 years ago, it's game over for the season. Down at the Winhall General Store, they've been very busy stocking shelves with all of the trinkets that appeal to the tourists on the buses that next week will start rolling in by the hundreds from the Midwest.
If one translates that same planning preparation that the general store is going through for inventory, for hiring in a wicked tough environment and for cash flow back to our own companies, the impact of the timing is the same. Most of us are just now beginning our own annual planning process that will take us to final 2022 business plans by mid-December when we as managers most importantly present those to one another to get to a point of complete buy in and agreement as a team. That team agreement needs to be the impact of any meaningful planning process, not a document that you present to your board or corporate bosses. Don't get me wrong, board approval is critical, but most importantly, no BS team agreement is much more important.
Here's a couple of specific bullets to consider for your 2022 planning:
- 2022 will be the most pivotal period of planning that we have ever worked through.
- Focus on tight quarterly execution, while being strategically clear about 2023.
- Speed, agility and rapid decision-making count more than ever.
- Adopt short quarterly bursts to refresh department plans two quarters at a time.
- Improve GTM productivity for sales channels at the detailed salesperson level.
- Focus on more revenue from existing customers rather than new logos.
- Adopt rapid use of sales and marketing technology even more than in 2020-2021.
- Refresh all of your tactical marketing thinking.
The bottom line for this fall's planning is agility, immediacy, and adoption of new tactics, new technologies and new thinking as we shift from marketing and selling our products and services to marketing and selling the value that our products provide. 2022 will be clearly the year of the customer like no other!
You can take a look at our 2021 revised ebook, "Writing the Winning Business Plan" for additional ideas and processes or just connect with me at any time. Right now, I'm off to the general store to grab a breakfast sandwich before my first zoom call at 8:30.
Have a great day selling today and enjoy what looks like a great weatha' weekend! Talk to the family about
coming to see the spectacular leaves in VT in a couple of weeks...we can use the tourist dollars!
AN ANYTIME SOUNDING BOARD
If at any time, you have a need for a confidential sounding board for your 2022 planning process, just connect with me at any time. Text or email me, and I'll quickly set up a call. I'm a pretty good listener, and we can get deep into tactics if you want. Obviously, no cost for a call or two; just an opportunity to listen intently and make a few recommendations based on decades of experience.