“During your annual planning ritual do you study and analyze the current situation in your market and then move on straight to setting your goals?” asks Dan Herman in an article at MarketingProfs. “Common practice—but a big mistake!” According to Herman, this practice actually encourages underachievement by placing artificial limits on your ambition. “Nowadays,” he argues, “most business successes result from early identification of market opportunities and a rapid and creative move to capitalize on them, maximizing profits.”

Herman’s methodology, called the Opportunity Scan (or O-Scan), comes in two stages:

What’s now? The first stage involves researching and analyzing the current market situation.
What’s possible? The systematic exploration of opportunities.

Answering these three questions will lead you from current reality to potential achievement:

What shouldn’t be? Place everything from wasted resources to customer frustrations in this category.
What could/should change? In other words, asks Herman, “[W]hat are the outdated or plainly dumb unwritten rules of the game that the players in this market stick by?”
What could be? Determine how your company can excel with a product or service your competition is unlikely to develop.

Source: MarketingProfs.