Business today is in flux and transition, offering great opportunities for smart organizations and business leaders to gain a competitive advantage.
The economic downturn, layoffs and forced restructurings have driven many businesses into survival mode. They are scrambling to hold things together, focusing on immediate needs and urgencies. Vision, long term planning and strategic positioning have gone by the wayside. For the alert business leader, this opens the gate to gain a significant competitive advantage. How can you capitalize on this? Consider the following five simple tips:
- Look ahead. What will the business world look like in two to three years? What about your industry? What will you customers look like? What will they need? Develop your best educated guess. Then take action now and position strategically to meet that future need.
- Strengthen your structure. Where are the weak spots in your organization or your processes? Address them now. Prepare for growth and change. You cannot compete effectively and gain the advantage if your structure is already compromised.
- Keep options open. Be able to respond quickly. Change is occurring at an ever-increasing pace. The advantage goes to the individuals and organizations which are able to seize short-lived opportunities.
- Invite ideas. Solicit observations and suggestions from your team, vendors and customers. Take advantage of their different perspectives. Often, those closest to the action have the keenest insights. Your staff and business network are resources. Take advantage of them and finesse the competition.
- Create with what you have. The business world of decades ago is not returning. The old structures and ground rules are things of the past. Younger employees have different expectations. Life is moving at a different pace. Today’s business won’t fit into yesterday’s box. Accept the realities of today, and use them to create a business in tune with current markets and customers.
The marketplace is tough. But for alert business leaders, opportunities are abundant. Use your resources, plan strategically and claim and gain your competitive advantage.