How to Make Better Business DecisionsMarch 17, 2023

March 17, 2023

How to Make Better Business Decisions

ACF-2020-05-Col1-Steinberg,Scott-Columnist-110x140Hailed as the world’s leading business strategist, award-winning expert witness, strategic consultant and professional speaker, Scott Steinberg is among today’s best-known trends experts and futurists, and the bestselling author of “Think Like a Futurist;” “Make Change Work for You: 10 Ways to Future-Proof Yourself, Fearlessly Innovate, and Succeed Despite Uncertainty;” and “Fast >> Forward: How to Turbo-Charge Business, Sales, and Career Growth.” The president and CEO of BIZDEV: The International Association for Business Development and Strategic Partnerships, his website is

Between continuing economic volatility, rising geopolitical uncertainty, and a seemingly endless parade of unexpected events, meeting and event planners increasingly face a world of growing disruption. Thankfully for MICE industry pros, and the many vendors and suppliers which support them, learning to successfully navigate today’s topsy-turvy business environment doesn’t have to be as difficult as it seems when you apply a few helpful shifts in strategy and thinking.

Moreover, as a keynote speaker and workshop presenter who’s helped hundreds of organizations and meeting planners adapt to change and emerging trends, I’m pleased to report that you don’t need psychic powers or superhuman intuition to see ahead of the curve either. In fact, as much as we all love talking about the Elon Musks and Steve Jobs’ of the world, as it turns out, succeeding in a business environment that’s as fast-changing and unpredictable as today’s marketplace isn’t about having to be a single-minded or visionary leader anymore. Rather, it’s about becoming more of an anticipatory leader – and simply learning to apply a little bit more forethought and advance planning to every effort.

If you’re feeling like your head is constantly spinning as an event industry pro, and you’re looking to improve your skill at practicing the art of futurism (actively contemplating future events), fear not, however. You can begin to better plan for tomorrow, and become more of an anticipatory leader, just by asking yourself three simple questions:

  • Financial gains aside, how can you always ensure you’re finding ways to win with every opportunity and gain new capabilities that can be applied to other business ventures? For instance: Despite initial up-front investment costs, perhaps it makes good sense to launch a series of new educational salons to introduce yourself to industry leaders in new verticals your company would like to target.
  • Just how adaptable are the biz strategies and solutions that you’re considering pursuing – and if they fall short, just how readily can you repurpose tools, technologies, and insights gained from these ventures in new and novel ways, or use them to pivot to new opportunities? For example: If you put on an online event, and sales are lower then anticipated, perhaps you could leverage the technology platforms, content formats or speaker relationships you developed, to underpin a program on another more marketable topic.
  • Where and to what extent could your efforts in any given business area quickly translate to other industries? Case in point: Maybe all of those events you’ve been planning for C-suite leaders in the medical space could also appeal, with some slight tweaks and adjustments, to executives in the chemical engineering or consumer products world as well.

In effect, before making business investments of any kind — including time, effort or energy — the key is to look beyond financial opportunities alone and consider: How well do these initiatives support us in the pursuit of our overall goals and strategies? And if sudden, unexpected developments call even the best-laid plans into question, how quickly can we use them as a springboard to other ventures?

Other helpful questions that you may want to ask yourself as a MICE industry pro, as you work to adapt to change and emerging events are as follows:

  • Can you or your associates learn from a given opportunity, and/or leverage your existing capabilities in novel ways, by pursuing it? Will doing so help grow your organization’s capabilities or introduce you to new contacts, markets or audiences? What additional upsides, such as new training, skills or contact introductions, might you gain as the result of pursuing this option?
  • At what expense will any given opportunity come? Will you lose the chance to pursue alternate opportunities (e.g. putting on other industry events), limit your capacity to take on new work or explore other developments? If you choose to pursue a given opportunity, will you achieve one-time, recurring or permanent benefit by participating?
  • Are competitors pursuing similar opportunities to good effect? How so? Is there a way to do so in a similar — or, better yet, quicker, more impactful or cost-effective fashion? Who can assist you in your efforts to innovate here, and are there preexisting resources, capabilities or solutions that you can repurpose to speed up your efforts?
  • With regard to any given business dealings, are the deal’s terms acceptable? Where do potential pain-points lie? What leverage does each party involved in the transaction hold? What terms need to be negotiated, and what are you willing to compromise or concede? Which terms are deal breakers?
  • When competing against others for a specific opportunity, how does your relative pricing and value stack up? What unique sales-points and value-propositions set you apart?
  • Can work created as part of any given project be repurposed for other projects? In what other ways? How do these options align with your overall objectives, and how much more effectively can they help you accomplish them?

As you can see, for meeting and event planners in every field, learning to make smarter strategic decisions in business is largely a function of your willingness to exercise a little more forethought. Likewise, picking the right strategic option for your firm is simply a function of being a bit more proactive and pointed in the questions that you choose to ask. As any experienced event planner can tell you, building a winning game plan in a fast-changing MICE industry  starts with defining big goals, then working backwards to break them down into specific tactics and action steps. Achieving this goal becomes much easier when you take a few minutes to pause up-front and ask yourself some critically-important questions, and leave yourself a little more room to maneuver. C&IT

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