Strategizing can seem like a pointless task when you’re dealing with a constantly changing economic environment. Naturally, many entrepreneurs feel too much time is spent assessing and analysing information rather than actually getting on with the job in hand and making things happen. In this world where things happen overnight, strategy is seemingly dead.
The reality is, however, recessionary or economic pressure makes the business of strategizing even more important than normal, not less. Businesses need to make sure they are well-positioned for recovery and not simply relying on rules of thumb and past experiences.
In times of downturn, businesses need to open up their thinking, not shut it down. Even if you were riding high going into the recession, time needs to be spent working out a robust plan of survival which will help you adapt to the changing environment.
What makes good strategizing?
Strategy should start with what you are good at and then look at how this can be aligned with market opportunities rather than starting with market opportunities and trying to force the business into one that can be exploited.
Businesses should focus on what makes them money. Do you really understand what’s happening in your business?
Strategizing is often the sole responsibility of the MD of a business or the senior management team who have more influence over the shape and direction of the business. But in reality, a strategy works more effectively when all employees are involved in the process and not only understand how their day-to-day actions can enhance the success of the company but also feel they have a voice in its future.
Businesses should ask employees what makes their company different and communicate strategies with the people who can help deliver them more effectively. People work harder when they are attached to the goals and aspirations of a business and employees should be provided with a mechanism to identify and voice their views on issues affecting the long-term health and direction of the business.
The key to establishing a high performance business is having a structure within the organisation so that ordinary people can regularly accomplish outstanding things. You can’t wait for extra ordinary people to come along and help your business.
Should your strategy in 2012 be any different? Economic pressures will affect decision-making in the short-term and businesses must adequately prepare for the changing economic landscape.
Common themes in 2012 strategies include:
- Preserving cash
- Protecting your database
- Poaching customers from less prepared and less focused competitors
- Connectivity – impact of social media
Failing to plan is planning to fail.
Strategic planning is just as critical!