This past week, I had the opportunity to participate in a two day strategic planning meeting in Philadelphia with the USAV group. As noted on their website, USAV is the leading association of professional audio-visual (ProAV) integrators serving clients in over 80% of the top metropolitan areas in the country with leading-edge AV solutions.
ISI has been an active member of the USAV group since 2007 and over the past three years have been a part of the Dealer Advisory Council (DAC). ISI’s involvement with USAV has been beneficial on many levels (for both companies) but particularly with ongoing professional development and nationwide support services.
As I was sitting in the various meeting sessions this week, it got me thinking. Why does an organization need a strategic plan? And why develop it in August? Is there a better time to do it? And what is strategic planning exactly? More importantly, why are so many of leaders reluctant to take the time to do it even when there is so much on the line?
It occurred to me that if there ever was a time to develop a strategic plan in the Pro AV/VTC industry it is now. As we all discussed as USAV members, we have been dealing with so many things changing in our industry:
- Eroding profit margins (on services and hardware)
- Increased competition (from larger firms)
- The challenge of converting salespeople to solutions selling (not boxes)
All of these are important issues but those were just a few. Even after devoting two solid days of concentrated effort, it was quite evident that we couldn’t possibly cover all the issues and challenges that could/should go in USAV’s strategic plan for 2014-2015. But we put forth a gallant effort. And maybe that’s the point. We put significant effort into looking at our future and seeing what we needed to do to be successful. Rather than running from the industry problems and challenges, we have identified them and developed plans to deal with them.
Enjoyed catching a Phillies game with USAV group...even after I got hit in the hand by a foul ball.
Candidly, we certainly didn’t have all the right answers (and probably didn't even know all the right questions either) but we did plot the course and the direction we are going. I think it’s a good game plan not just for USAV but for ISI as well. That is why I will be working closely with ISI’s management team to develop our 2015 strategic plan that hopefully will assist us in navigating these challenging times.