227. In 2021, do the Numbers, Strategy and Catalytic

Beginning of the year Planning Questions:

Does your firm set target “numbers”: budgets and financial, in the form of “stretch” goals?

  1. If so, what will you do differently to fill the stretch gap? And, any specifics for digital transformation necessities?
  2. Will your “strategy changes” threaten the status quo? Or,
  3. Will they fine-tune what you know and have been doing?
  4. Will debates be only about choosing and prioritizing the type of lipstick or dresses to put on the same old activity bundle?
  5. Has this process achieved stretch goals in each of the past five years?

What About Catalytic Questions?

Definition: open-ended questions that reframe the business and its purpose at a higher-level or in a different way. The questions should be compelling; not have ready answers; and be unnerving. How to then handle them?

  1. Don’t reject the questions for being too scary (or ego threatening); befriend them.
  2. Relax into unknowing.
  3. Reword them to make them even more powerful.
  4. Brainstorm on related bigger and smaller questions.
  5. Name, accept and reduce the fears that the questions spark; just live with and into them.
  6. Do some research. Visit with experts and your most net-profitable, best-growing customers.
  7. Have faith that: the best answers for your company will eventually emerge along with baby-step experiments that you can try bravely.


  1. What are the under-served needs of your most net-profitable customers (or customer segments)?
  2. What kind of cost-to-serve model do you need to have maximum “customer net-profitability” insights? (Answer here.)
  3. What will you do to fix unprofitable (small-order average) customers?
  4. 3PL companies do the same activities that distributors do. Why don’t you create a 3PL division that provides customized, solutions for key suppliers and customers?
  5. The pandemic has accelerated digital ecommerce trends: what do your best customers’ buyers want for hybrid, e-selling models? Who will survey best customers to find the answers?
  6. How many of your reps will fit into new, hybrid, digital-selling models that millennial B2B buyers want?
  7. Why not go “open book” to give all employees lots more feedback information for scoring what you seek to do? Why not give them a profit-improvement, gain-sharing opportunity?

Answer Help? 

Skim the contents of both my 12 webinars entitled “Ecommerce 2023” and, my “Core Renewal Roadmap”. Think differently and big, then do small bets forward in 2021.

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