No plan survives contact with the enemy.
Most companies survive hard times by applying workable strategies at different times of their operational cycle. The approach, a company applies depends on the overall cost and benefit attached. A hybrid approach is preferred in most cases due to business dynamics, to achieve success and sustainability.
What strategies do successful companies apply to stay relevant in business?
Before an organization can successfully apply a sustainable approach, it must first put its house in order. Stable organizations align their operations with their strategies to avoid internal frictions that could affect their products and services. A balance of approach and resources gives an organization control over its market. The vision, mission, and culture must align with the activities an organization performs. When you begin to experience downtime and communication breach in business, look inwards; create a system that fits in properly.
A step at a time. A centralized system is one that manages all its resources from a single source. It has as many backups as possible, to avoid downtime during an upgrade or sudden breakdown. Startups use this system to minimize cost and ensure control over activities. However, it is not ideal for some blue chips with enormous clientele. Do not be in a hurry to expand when you have not got the customer base to support the additional cost of expansion. Until then, maintain a centralized structure where every communication channel leads to you for decision-making.
A decentralized system is one managed from several control hubs, headed by different autonomous principals. Project-based organizations run in that manner to manage their resources and monitor the results of each project. This system is used by interstate and international firms to prevent bureaucratic hiccups and delays in the discharge of duty at different locations. If your organization has grown beyond a single division with clientele cut across geographical boundaries; it’s time to give these divisions some level of autonomy. It will drive them to do more and create other branches.
This system is a combination of both the centralized and decentralized systems. An organization shares resources for two reasons; to achieve economies of scale and to reduce idle time. Every constituent unit exercises some level of authority, with critical approvals made by the centre. For this strategy to be effective, its constituent must align and operate efficiently. If bottlenecks begin to occur in your supply chain or channel of communication, you need to decongest the system by creating a more flexible structure.
As an organization masters its value chain, to identify areas to merge for resource optimization. Care should be taken not to jeopardize quality and motivation. However, if there is a need for specialization, integration should not be an option in such areas. When you begin to spot redundant or underutilized resources in your company; it is time to look inwards for areas that you can collapse; usually called vertical integration, to maximize your resources.
If a company cannot handle it, it should outsource its secondary duties and concentrate on its core, to stay focused and not run into unnecessary losses from defects and downtime. Since; it may lack the resources and expertise to manage all of its operations at the same time. If your activities are beginning to weigh you down; you should do consider specializing on those you have the expertise and resources to perform.
Opportunities may decline in some areas of an organization’s business environment but become more evident in other sectors of the economy. Surviving companies continually study the trend of their business space looking out for other prospects to exploit. Diversification involves an iterative process of data collection and analysis to understand and satisfy a need. If you identify an opportunity that is not within your industry, that you have the resources to tap into it; make it count.
When the customer base of an organization begins to expand, the need for the creation of other units, departments and even branches spring up. Companies grow; among other factors to get closer to their target market, labour and source of material inputs. The far-reaching presence of an organization can earn it recognition and patronage from a plethora of stakeholders. If your orders are more than your production; it is time to expand. Otherwise, you would have competitors springing up and taking over.
You can’t polish a turd, but you can knock a product or service into shape. Companies go one better to develop new products and services or upgrade existing ones. They engage their customers frequently to understand their complementary needs and work towards satisfying those needs. You can get the better of your competitors. Create a good rapport with your clients, engage them to capture their expectations and demands, so that you can work towards providing them with products and services that satisfy those expectations.
Businesses fish where the fish are, to stay afloat. They investigate new markets and existing territories that patronize competitors, to find out what they can do to win them over. Surveys aid firms to identify potential customers who are willing to do business with them. Companies use this strategy to increase revenue through an increase in market share.
A penny saved is a penny earned. The product or service price of a company affects patronage significantly. To stay relevant in the industry, an organization may look inwards to identify and eliminate non-value-adding components of their value chain. They can also decide to source production inputs from affordable dealers without impacting negatively on quality to reduce operational and production costs. With total quality management, you can identify loopholes in your business to eliminate so that you can save cost for your customers. In a world where only about 8% is rich, you can imagine those craving to pinch pennies.
Variety is the spice of life. Some companies create premium offers; targeted at consumers who are willing to pay more for the added qualities. Differentiation is a marketing strategy that attracts a segment of the market who value distinction. Some companies maintain two standards-common and unique. If patronage is low for premium products, revenue from the sale of ordinary products will make up for the shortfall. To concentrate on premium offers alone, a company must do thorough research to validate customer willingness to pay more. If you have so much to offer; let it out, using differentiation. Your customers will increase, and they will have varieties to consider.
Focus on your strengths, not your weaknesses. Some organizations have used “Niching” to tough it out in the face of fierce competition. They rely on the evidence that man at some point in time craves for affiliation and recognition. These organizations identify their brand with a particular group. They focus on satisfying this group. They channel their resources to capture and harness the market that this group controls. When you have a big fish in your industry; you identify where your strength lies; use focus or niching to segment the market and concentrate on your target niche, to remain in business.
Mergers and Acquisition
“It takes two flints to make a fire” – Louisa May Alcott. Successful organizations merge with similar organizations to enjoy strengths that they don’t have, share obligations, and harness the opportunities that abound. Blue chips sometimes acquire startups to avoid competition. Also, companies that suffer penalties, stiff competition or cannot cope with the spate of revolution are acquired by striving organizations, remodelled, and put back on track. Participating firms should perform due diligence before entering into any form of agreement.
Corporations outsource their secondary responsibilities to specialists who have the requirements to operate in such climes to enable them to focus on their primary obligation. They also offshore to business economies with the enabling characteristics for their business. Consider plans to outsource and offshore if you think you’re no longer comfortable with your current environmental factors instead of parking up.
Competitive marketing starts with market intelligence, then benchmarking and superiority. Industry stalwarts use field agents to monitor the activities of competitors. Do wait until the market begins to tilt towards your competitors. When you frequently engage your clients, you would find out what the market likes about your rivals; get involved immediately, and do better.
Of course, an industry leader is not without a unique identity. Big industry players rebrand to reinstate their presence in the industry and give their customers something new to satisfy their upgraded needs. When demand begins to decline, consider unveiling your new looks. Repackage your offer with the trend; it will keep your customers.
Engagement, Promotions & Adverts
As a market penetration strategy, surviving companies overcome demand swings with promotions and adverts targeted at existing and new customers to boost patronage. They also use social media to gain followers and subscribers and put their services on the map. Consider social media engagement and promotions when your customers begin to show a preference for alternative offers. This time, make your offer more attractive with enhanced characteristics.
Some have argued that the essence is to avoid tax. Well, when an organization gives alms to the needy in society, its name spreads like wildfire.
When the competition becomes tougher; be proactive. Identify those things that the less privileged lack and fill up the gap, for free. Your firm will be known for good deeds by both the affluent and the modest, for more business.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.