This is a form you can use on a small scale. If you are doing a larger project you can use this for inspiration or as a way expanding on your usual way of going about the planning process. You can even apply it to the planning process itself, if you are one those who don't like planning or the plan is going to be big and complex.
Before you do the research on what is involved in the new direction or year or whatever, it is good to be clear about what role it is going to play in your life or company and why you are going that way.
To enter into any business or job you must have some background with it. So where does your interest in the new direction come from?
Maybe you are just following a dream or wish from something you've seen or heard (more than three cheers - go for it).
What are the limitations you current have on changing? (Know your enemy, then you can plan their defeat.)
If you are at the beginning of a new branching out, why pick that direction?
What is wrong with the current situation that make's you want to change it?
What makes you think you can do it?
What do you think are the greatest problems you might face?
How does it fit into your current circumstances? Or not. See Swot Analysis.
What are you most afraid of about setting out on this path?
For your business what are the worst things that could confront it?
How do you think you or your business will be changed by this direction?
What is the current state of the economic environment? Recession, boom etc.
How is the industry affected by the economic cycle?
How will the economic cycle effect your plans?
In order to make realistic targets you need to get an overview the industry or area of interest. You may already know this stuff because you are already in the industry but it is good to put it all together in a relational way. This is a general look at the industry to function as a feasibility study and decision-base.
Who are the leaders in the field?
Where do we get hold of their balance sheets and prospectus?
What are the yearly figures for the whole industry?
How much of the market is held by the leaders?
Which industries are related, for instance as suppliers and customers or competitors?
Who are the leaders in those industries?
What resources are available to help you in the new direction? Industry associations, consultants, education, government agencies, ministries and grants, laws and regulations.
What are the media covering the area? Trade magazines, advertising budgets of those at the same level you are going to operate at, usual media for advertising - brochures, fliers, newspapers, radio, tv, internet.
What are the media budgets of the leading players in the industry?
What's the average media budget?
What is the industry history? (A sketch including major technological innovations)
Who are the customers? Summary overview of the market including the significant demographic differentiations if customers are people, if companies then what is important to know.
What resources in time, money, learning and material can you afford to put towards the new direction?
What are the limitations you have on change at the moment?
Will changing circumstances in other parts of your life or enterprise affect the project?
What kinds of changes will have a negative affect? eg if this is a personal project - what if your partner looses her or his job, or he or she ends the relationship; if this is a department project - what if the company starting to loose money, company goals changing; if it is new company - changes in the economic cycle.
What are the areas you know least about?
What other questions do you consider should be on this list?
Now it is time to move onto the Motivation aspect of the project.
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