Facebook recently unveiled its grand 10-year plan, which got us thinking.
Taking a page (get it?) from Facebook, we thought it relative to give discussion to the importance of a long-term business and marketing plan.
At this year’s F8 summit, the head honcho Mark Zuckerberg shared some insight into the company’s long-term goals. This got us inspired. The company proved it is invested in evolving from being simply known as a family of social-media properties into a conglomerate of technology, education, and forward-thinking endeavors.
Where Will You Be in 2026?
Back in the boom time of the ’80s, when Japan was on the rise, U.S. business leaders often touted how Japanese businesses planned decades and even centuries ahead, rather than for the short term, like American companies. Since the rise of the tech sector’s rapid innovation cycle, such thinking has largely gotten worse, with two quarters representing an eternity in Internet years.
The theme of any business plan should be how the company can use its current successes to invest in long-term goals that will make it an even stronger company over the next decade. Ten years seems like a long time, but you don’t want to be out there stranded without a strong plan. Let’s mimic Facebook and the Asian market and start building better blueprints for our businesses.
“Every leader should have a 10 year vision for their work. Whether it be for a company, organization, or even just personally. A vision gives us goals, goals give us focus, and focus drives us to achieve the success we envision. At Palm Beach Tech, we set a 15 year vision and built a plan around it to evolve over time. Things will change on a dime at times – it happens – but it’s important to know where we want to be.”
If You Don’t Know Where You Are Going, How Are You Going to Get There?
Facebook’s 10-year game involves more ambitious technology efforts, such as artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality, and new connectivity offerings, such as drone-delivered internet service. What they are doing, essentially, is saying to the world that they are not content with just being social, they are going to be dominate in all areas of future tech.
A small business’ ten-year plan should take a cue from the social giant, whereas you have to think big and bold, and beyond to surpass your competition, as well as your means. Because many businesses, including your competitors, are unlikely to have thought that far forward, a 10-year business plan can help you stay a step ahead in your particular marketplace.
Facebook is in a strong market unto itself, but they are showing and proving that they are not complacent in the least bit. By thinking generationally, planning gives direction and vector to any enterprise.
Aim High, Work Backwards
Messenger Chatbots are just the start to the Facebook timeline. Any company should find their jumping off point. Even for a giant like Facebook, setting in-house goals is vastly important; it can show the client and consumer that you are thinking outside the box.
The Zuck is like the Oprah of the digital age, giving away ideas and lessons we should all pay attention to and learn from. You get artificial intelligence! You get Virtual Reality! You get lazer cats! Envisioning the future is a daunting task but confidence is a killer, therefor by thinking ahead, and broadcasting your intentions, you establish confidence which your clients can see and notice.
Think Big and Little
A roadmap for your business is filled with signs, potholes, and more. Both you and your business as a whole are represented entities that need to be nurtured. Life is filled with ups and downs; the same goes for companies and businesses. You can’t predict everything, but it is important to try.
The company also took the wraps off a couple of new tools designed to enhance the basic Facebook experience. The Quote Sharing and Save Button features allow you to easily save text, articles, videos and even products to your Facebook account from any number of sources, essentially a replacement for read-it-later apps like Instapaper or Pocket. What we are saying here is that not every piece of the plan needs to be grand. Think practical and beneficial, then things will come together in formation.
Mirroring the Masters
Even Facebook’s plan isn’t set in stone, but by having the audacious foresight, they are giving a clear message internally and externally. By year five they hope to be marching steadily in the AI product market, adapting these technologies for other mediums and applications. By year five, your business should be researching and targeting new technologies.
If you are a roofer in Miami, you should be thinking beyond your boring SEO strategy that is most likely leading nowhere (no offense), and start to optimize your place in the market and what services you can offer.
Are you up on Tesla’s new battery technologies for solar panels, have you developed global warming plans for customers, have you evaluated how the tiny house movement is incorporating industrial materials into homes? This is the kind of thinking your plan should involve.
Toward the culmination of the ten-year plan, Facebook is focused on commodity technologies to further the sprint of consumer needs and desires. With the peak coming from Connectivity and Virtual Reality, the brass is not only setting a bar for their users and consumers, but also their employees, essentially telling them where their ideas should be when that time comes.
When it comes to your business, be sure to have each year mapped out, along with safe plays, and stretch plays, because you need to know where we are heading. A 10-year timeframe for business planning is longer than most forecasting, and will be subject to unexpected changes in any business environment and other considerations, however no business got anywhere by playing it safe in the present.