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4 min read - April 04, 2023

Its easy to say yes but strategically should you be saying no

For some of us right now our focus is on how we ready our businesses for the projected tougher times through 2023. For others, it’s using this market opportunity to grow market share.

Whatever your position, you need a good simple ‘strategy’ that makes it easy to make the required decisions you will need to, given the speed at which things are moving. Irrespective of whether you are in growth or ‘cost containment’ mode, a clear strategy makes it easy to identify which initiatives to focus on, which resources you’ll need and where you’ll need to allocate them to ensure success.

Organisations will get the results they get, but is this what they had really hoped for? Or were they looking for something else?

A key part of your immediate plan is figuring out how we’ll get where we want to be. What space are we playing in? Who are the customers? And how will we differentiate ourselves?

If you are in ‘right sizing’ mode – what are we not going to do that you are doing today and what are the trade-offs?

If you are in growth mode, I am assuming you will still only have a finite amount of resource to work with. So again, when confronted with lots of options, what are you going to do and what will you not?

For example:

You have a strategy which is heavily focused on delivering exceptional customer service. However, the experience for the customer is less than exceptional because you have stripped out the wrong roles, removed organisational knowledge of key processes and eroded trust within the culture. It doesn’t take much science to predict that this won’t be good news for your profitability either.

Key to these conversations are trade-off's - what will you:

  • Rationalise or grow regarding customer segments – do you have opportunities to grow within profitable segments, use your brand to open up adjacent ones and/ or close off those that don’t provide the necessary returns?
  • Increase/ decrease/ change in relation to the channels you use – i.e. go direct rather than using an intermediary, enhance your online presence in parallel with your existing sales team.
  • Stop doing altogether – is the work in question really something that sets you apart, provides significant revenue or exposes you to a profitable customer segment vs. taking attention away from the things that do?
  • Do less frequently – can you change spending patterns regarding certain activities, not distribute as frequently through consolidating shipping, revise shifts/ production lines, etc?
  • Scale back, or up, on features or services – with finite budget where are you best to invest to maintain innovation and/ or competitive advantage? Where can you gain savings from less viable areas?
  • Automate or drive self-serve – for some this is an option, for others it isn’t. Don’t just assume the business models of today will continue to be successful irrespective of your current performance (from poor through to strong).
  • Resource differently -  potentially using temporary/ contract resource or third party partners to cater for any variability in workload.

The economic impacts which have been signalled for a while, coupled with the shocking events for some over the summer, has meant that individual business impacts are inconsistent, unpredictable and potentially inevitable.

As such, rather than worrying about what you are seeing in the media it makes sense to ensure you have the right plans in place and that everyone in your organisation understands what you want to achieve, where the focus needs to be, versus not.

Being clear about your proposition then makes it easier to ensure you respond wisely through trade off conversations so you can change your business while still creating the right experience for customers that will keep them coming back. 

Strategic clarity and trade-offs - this is critical if you are fighting to survive, consolidating BAU or still looking to grow.

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