As a business leader, it’s always interesting being in a position to ride out a recession. I can’t help but wonder what will be different. How will consumer preferences change? How will their spending patterns change? What are businesses doing to regroup? How many businesses merged and what will they look like when they emerge?
Of course, with all of the resulting volatility, I have to look at the emerging needs in the marketplace and determine what I need to do differently. If I keep doing the same thing that I have been doing (running on inertia), then I will likely get left behind. If I keep my nose to the grindstone and keep pumping out new and exciting stuff for a market that doesn’t exist, or one that is saturated (red, shark infested waters), then I won’t continue to be successful. If I find a way to identify and leverage my strengths, I can continue to be a service to my community.
That is a mark of an extraordinary business – they not only meet the needs of their market’s current needs, they are able to anticipate it’s future needs.
What does this have to do with leveraging your strengths? Everything. Some times when business leaders discover a need in the marketplace, they immediately loose focus on their vision to go after the shiny new bait in the water. Many times, this new thing will take them on a new path, which for some, is fine. However, for those who are trying to serve a specific population in a specific way, this could be devastating. Therefore identifying and finding ways to leverage your strengths is going to be the most ideal scenario for meeting new market needs.
Strengths you might seek to leverage might be relationships, the ability to learn, resources you can use to hire new people or assistant, access to different types of information and the typical cash flow, client relationships, community relationships, access to investors or ability to raise capital through traditional methods. It will be important to identify some more non-traditional strengths so that you can begin to get a fuller picture of what your capabilities truly are. At the same time, you must be realistic. Your strengths should be something that you can tie some direct outcome to. For example, stating that you have access to $500,000, thinking that you can find investors (that you don’t have) for a product or service that hasn’t been developed might be a little far-fetched (though stating that you need that $500,000 may not be unrealistic.)
Once you’ve identified those strengths, look at the needs and trends in your market/industry and define opportunities that your company could take advantage of in the upcoming year. If you are in the fuel industry, you might be looking at how you might leverage offer alternate fuel sources. If you are in construction, you might look at how you might promote the company as a green company. If you are in professional services, you might do research in your industry and sell a trend report based on your findings. Whatever you decide to do, make sure that it is a) part of your mission, b) help you move toward your vision and c) doesn’t compromise your values.
Remember that everything that your business produces has your business’s name on it. Your market is watching. If you confuse them, they won’t purchase from you.
Aepiphanni Business Solutions is a Strategy Consulting Firm dedicated to serving the needs of business leaders and executives. We specialize in helping people get into business, and stay there. We welcome clients in the personal and professional services industries, including restaurants, catering and event planning. As always, we welcome your comments, thoughts, questions and suggestions. If you are seeking a business assessment, or have further questions about creating your strategy or developing your vision, please give me, Rick Meekins, a call at 678-265-3908, or email us at [email protected].