Create your own economy
In his timeless “Oh the places you’ll go” Dr. Seuss provides a simple yet powerful guide to traversing life’s “lurches and slumps” for people of all ages. His “waiting room” analogy (“Oh the most useless place of all”) is particularly poignant. We've all been there; waiting for the new client call, business opportunity, old love…. In times of significant change or uncertainly as many are experiencing now, business owners often wait for signs that things are better before investing in the things (people, capacity, capability, new markets etc) they know they need to grow. Just like shares, you can rarely pick the bottom or bull-run precisely but know that most market share opportunity will come in the first part of the upswing. Are you ready?
20 Mile March
In his book, “Great by Choice”, Jim Collins uses Amundsen and Scott’s 1911 race to the South Pole to illustrate how significant uncontrollables may be managed. Amundsen adopted a “20 Mile March” strategy which saw him progress each day despite the weather. In contrast, Scott (who famously perished with his team on the homeward journey) would drive his team to exhaustion on a good day or stay hunkered down and miserable during poor weather waiting for things to improve. The moral of the story is that Amundsen successfully created a degree of self control in a harsh, out of control, environment.
Just like Amundsen, successful business owners of today and tomorrow embrace uncertainty and determine what they can do to create their own success. They then make and execute those decisions. Here are some strategies we are currently helping our clients create and implement to forge their own success in this market.
Get everyone on same page
Many of our clients have come together at a facilitated offsite to refresh their purpose and vision (i.e. the “why” we are in business), check in on their market positioning and business model, and identify opportunities to develop over the next 12 months. This has provided them with aligned focus to proactively chart their next course.
Build client facing capability and process
Several professional services clients have realised that they have significantly underinvested in building middle management capability to understand client need and build deep relationships and are now seeking our assistance to quickly address these gaps. They are also developing client management processes to ensure their clients receive a consistent whole of firm experience.
Review your product mix
A market leader in a falling and changing market realised that they had been guilty of waiting for the market to come to them and were becoming out touch with their clients’ needs thus allowing competitors a foothold. Following structured feedback meetings with their top 20 clients, they refreshed their product and service delivery and are embracing social media as an important tool for maintaining their status as thought leaders. Not surprisingly, revenue is now heading in the right direction.
Faced with a shrinking and depressed market, which could have seen the business fold, one of our Tasmanian clients successfully repositioned themselves as a competitive player in integrated marketing for emerging businesses in Tasmania and, increasingly, on the mainland.
Strengthen channels to market
A building product manufacturer has been able to maintain revenue and margin in a market where its direct competitors are down 20-30% by more proactively positioning its product to the market and expanding is channel relationships. Despite the strong A$, it has also developed significant additional offshore opportunities.
In short, these successful clients have responded rather than waited.