Mapping a Business Strategy in a Broken Economy

Published October 3, 2012

The troubled economy of the past several years has challenged – and weakened – many businesses around the world. Although business leaders can’t manage the myriad external factors that impact their organization, they can take advantage of wounded competition through solid strategies.

Strategizing is more than making a business plan for the future; it’s about finding your organization’s internal resources and capabilities, and matching those against the external environment. By doing so, a company can set a new position for itself in the marketplace, even in the worst of times.

Business leaders must look at the total resources available to them, including finding opportunities to attract skilled workers who may have fallen victim to the recession. They should also scrutinize any capabilities they may have that the competition doesn’t.

Communication Essentials

All businesses need a clear narrative. A compelling brand story that engages people emotionally and promotes a unique selling point to a target audience is an invaluable component in gaining market share, no matter how the economy is doing.

Creating an evolving brand persona through various public channels gives voice to a company’s values, as well as benefitting the consumer. It also promotes transparency, which is increasingly becoming an expectation in the digital age.

Embrace Social Technology

A July 2012 study by the McKinsey Global Institute estimated that 72% of companies are using social media platforms, and that social technologies could provide an annual boost of up to $1.3 trillion across four sectors: retail financial services; professional services; consumer packaged goods; and advanced manufacturing.

Social media channels and other similar tools can improve communication among employees and consumers, bringing an associated increase in productivity. In an economic crunch, social media can be leveraged to build new brand followers and drive sales.

Although many companies already tap into social technologies, few are fully harnessing its potential to reach a new audience and gather insights for product development, marketing and customer service

Setting and Meeting Goals

Setting goals is a cornerstone of business development. In order to meet its goals, however, a team must know in advance that they are reachable and actionable. General Electric (GE), for example, sets goals for all aspects of organizational life, regularly reviews the goals and constantly seeks to improve systems and set more goals for all employees.

For forward-thinking and strategically-sound businesses, a challenging economic landscape can, in fact, be a spur to innovation and a tremendous opportunity for growth. Business leaders who embrace change, utilize social technologies and understand the benefits of goal-setting can push their organizations forward in a competitive marketplace.