Today’s market place is very dynamic. More than it was ever before. The changes are multi-dimensional. From ideas to technology to processes to concepts to economy to buyer’s attitudes – everything changes faster than one can imagine. In this environment, can you continue to conduct your business the way you have been doing, or the way you envisioned? A big NO. Remember ‘what got you here may not take you there.’ If you like to see your business succeed you have no option but to review your strategy and evolve it, as you go along, to suit the emerging market environment.
Speed of Change
As the change is rapid, a business owner has no choice but to keep his antenna ON. Not only s/he needs to keep abreast with the latest but also foresee the future emerging trends. Reactive stance has to be replaced by proactive stance. Many business leaders (and please change your hat from an owner’s to a leader’s) are so evolved in micromanagement that they have no time to ‘think.’ Think and Act. Have your strategy in place. Review it. Evolve it. Someone in your team has to beat it all the time. Create a ‘Think Tank’ in your team. It’s worth the cost. Do not only beat the competition but also go laterally to create new dimensions, where possible.
The business scenario is also turning more complex. New policies, trends, rules, ideas, innovations, etc are throwing multiple options, thereby creating complex challenges. Being prepared for them is the only option to survive. To do that you need to stay focused. While we propagate exploring new ideas and looking out for new opportunities, and taking calculated risks, we also talk of focus. The need is to balance ‘exploring and taking risks’ with ‘staying focused’ on your USP. Create a niche and maintain it. And when its no longer a niche, create a new one. Expanding the size of the business and increasing turnover have become somewhat old fashioned. It’s better to review your business model and consider strategic options such as franchising, collaboration, outsourcing, etc. All this will point towards a periodic business makeover.
There is a growing awareness of the significance of growing and maintaining relationships. While profits are the focus of any business, it cannot be done on an excel sheet alone. There are intangible benefits which are also profits, goodwill and trust-building being some of them. Nurturing business relationships with periodic follow up, obtaining feedback and taking action on it is extremely important and rewarding.
This continues to be the backbone of any business. Relating your financial growth with your goals is a key area of focus. The cash in and outflows need to be studied and analyzed. There is a need to have a Financial Roadmap in place with a mechanism to monitor it. Cash constraints can lead to limiting growth and overtrading can be disastrous. All aspects of working capital must be monitored to ensure optimum cash flow. It is equally important to keep an eye on credits and overdue debts.
All businesses run into a risk of crisis management due to various challenges that are thrown up by the environment. While this is quite normal, handling these crises is crucial. It is necessary to build in a mechanism of handling these and fixing the problems, without upsetting the speed and growth of the business. This calls for effective leadership, trust, good communication and self-confidence.
Know your Men
This is a principle picked from the Army. People are your prime assets. Are you getting the best out of them? Are you able to empower them? Are you taking care of their career growth and aspirations? This is particularly crucial in the case of Gen Y. Training and keeping your workforce sharpened with skill development including behaviors and attitudes is becoming more important than ever before.
Know your Market
This is derived from a Principle of war – Know your Ground. You don’t have to only know the market as it is today but also what it was, how it evolved and where is it going. What are the emerging trends and how you are integrating these insights into your business strategy? Business decisions must flow out of accurate and update data without which the decisions are likely to go wrong.
In the prevailing dynamic market place, your business will face enormous challenges. What I have listed above are only some of them. Being aware of the importance of recognizing these challenges, catering for them in your business model, making your team sensitive to them and being alert all the time will keep your business grow exponentially.