Cleveland Chamber learns about strategic business planning at January luncheon

Maintaining and growing a business was the focus of the Jan. 4 luncheon of the Greater Cleveland Chamber of Commerce with guest speaker Dr. Paul Withey.

Withey is an executive consultant who assists organizations and businesses in growing through strategic business development and operations.

“There’s a lot of growth potential that’s going to be coming this way,” he said.

A common business model establishes that businesses are motivated to make money, determine a product or service the owners want to sell and help customers. This model was established around the time World War II ended.

 “Who is our customer?” he asked. “Who are we going to serve?”

Withey says a business owner or an organization must learn to understand which demographic it plans to serve. Attempting to serve every demographic can prove to be difficult.


Demographics can include age groups of people such as baby boomers and millennials.

“It’s a totally different demographic,” said Withey referring to millennials as opposed to baby boomers.

Businesses and organizations can also rely upon social media to determine performance and reception among customers and contributors.

“All of that is pure data for you to harvest,” said Withey.

Withey discussed setting up a new strategic plan and figuring out how to harvest new data to better improve one’s business or organization. He suggested admitting that the despite the old saying, the customer is not always right.

“It sets up for failure,” he said regarding the belief that customers are always right.

Even if a customer blasts a business or organization with bad reviews online, Withey says business owners should keep calm.


“Everybody knows there’s two sides to every story,” he said.

Withey says every business should have a business strategy based on determining what the business owner wishes to accomplish in the next five years.

“What products are working well for you right now?” he asked. “How do you capitalize on that?”

A business owner may have to compete with large names such as Walmart or even Amazon. However, Withey says you can compete with them in a different manner.

“How much of an expert are you in that product or service?” he asked.

Sometimes a customer may not realize they want a product or service, which Withey explained through Amazon’s new Alexa product and how its functions even has some of his older relatives enjoying it.

“The biggest key thing is understanding who your customer is,” said Withey.



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