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Janet Featherstone At the point of creation, a new business has a strategy. There will come a time when that model is not as attractive as it originally was.
Competitors may have entered the space, or upped their game, customers might be more demanding, margins may start coming under pressure, and you as the business owner might be working 12 hour days.
If your business is to succeed in this volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous VUCA world, then it must understand exactly where it plays in the market that you have chosen, and most importantly, how it intends to succeed in this space.
The challenge that most business owners face is that there is so much pressure to put out fires that very little attention is granted to the spark of industry-defining ideas. If you want to stay in business long-term, making the time to reflect and think deeply about the direction and competitiveness of your business is nothing short of essential.
We are affected — positively and negatively — through external events over which we have little or no control. Currency fluctuations, Brexit, trade agreements, economics, the political environment, tax rates, legislation and a host of other influences that impact our business environment.
In a strategic planning workshop, at least a morning needs to be invested in understanding how these external factors impact the business. Each detailed factor is ranked in terms of probability and impact. Low probability but high impact events are allocated to accountable individuals for observation, and might be scenario planned depending on their severity.
By the end of this process, each person in the room must have a sound idea as to the context in which the business is operating, and what external factors the business is likely to experience within the next year. Customers The only person who can tell you what your customers want and need is your customer.
It is a fatal mistake to believe that anyone in your organisation is qualified to speak on behalf of your most valuable assets. Remember that your customers can and will generally only tell you what they want and need given the same operating conditions for both yourselves and themselves.
Customers can tell you how your service ranks in comparison to competitors, how competitive your pricing structures are, their satisfaction with your sales process, how well your product performs, their experience of your service, and any gaps that might be sitting in your blind spot. Go Above And Beyond With Your Customer Service Competitors It is important not to become so fixated on your competitors that you lose sight of your own direction, but you certainly want to know what your competitors are up to, lest you get blindsided by their actions.
Ideally, you would arrive at the strategy session understanding the market shares of your various competitors. In addition, you would know the share of wallet that they attract, and compare this to the share of market. Variances between the two indicate a pricing strategy that may deserve closer inspection.
Then, a subjective analysis can be completed, but this can be done during the workshop. Here, the focus is on the offering and the softer skills that your competitors bring to the table. How strong are their customer relationships? How well do they sell against your products? How are they achieving their growth?
What do they do particularly well where your performance is sub-par? What do you do particularly well, that outshines them?
The more heads that think through these issues, the more objective the information becomes. Competencies This is the time to review what your organisation does particularly well, that when combined in the larger context and when compared with that of your competitors, can create a meaningful and valuable differential for your organisation.
What you are seeking here is something that your business does that your competitors cannot match. Often, these are the things that become ingrained in your culture.
They are not a process, they are not a pricing point, but rather are embedded into the way you do business. Think Apple, think design and functionality.
Think Ferrari, think performance and exclusivity.
When I think of your company, what should the association be? If your competitors are able to replicate your uniqueness quickly, then your competitive advantage can be eroded before its paid for itself.
Where little differentiation exists in a market, the common point upon which to compete becomes price. Margins erode in the effort to win business. Either differentiate, or be prepared to become a low-cost producer.
Creating a Unique Space This is where strategy becomes as much art as it is skill.Everything you wanted to know about writing a business plan, in one place—from the executive summary to appendix.
Get started writing your business plan. Model design: Many of the core beliefs and assumptions underlying strategic decisions are implied rather than explicitly stated. There are business models hundreds of years old and those only a handful of years old, such as Internet freemium models.
Some of the most profitable companies didn’t invent new business models; they borrowed a business model from another industry. The Gillette razor and blades model has been.
The subscription business model is a business model where a customer must pay a subscription price to have access to a product or service.
The model was pioneered by magazines and newspapers, but is now used by many businesses and websites.
We would like to show you a description here but the site won’t allow us. • Section Two describes in numbers the outcome of your business strategies and plans.
Your financial projections should be based on facts • Unsubstantiated assumptions can hurt a business plan; the business owner Business Plan Outline Cover Sheet: Business Name, Address, Phone Number, Principals.