By TAHMID SADMAN
1.Bringing in alterations- Alterations can come in a variety of forms. It can be a change in culture, for example a change from a product focused culture to a customer focused culture, it can also be a change in the organizational structure, for instance adopting a team based structure as opposed to a hierarchical one. Change can also come from a shakeup in the business model which may mean changes in the pricing policies, target market, the value delivery process and handling of in-house operations. The bottom line is, to engender flexibility and agility, firms need to take stock of certain factors that are putting brakes on its efforts to be more agile. An audit encompassing the internal aspects of the firm and the external business environment. In general, the issues that is likely to need addressing are- product-market fit, value delivery process, Unique Selling Point, operational processes, monitoring capacities, in-house resources(financial strength, competent employees, IT infrastructure, storage facilities etc) and stakeholder relationships.
2.Leveraging the power of branding- Branding is one of those pivotal avenues through which a firm can get many key exercises done- augmenting customer and stakeholder loyalty, making products/services more demand inelastic, enabling customer retention, and driving down marketing costs when launching a new product under that brand. The difficult part is it takes time unless a firm has a radical idea. It is highly unlikely that a firm will tick all the boxes in branding overnight. Caressing every touch point of the business with the brand’s essence is key regardless of the industry a firm is in. It is vital that a firm asks these questions before getting down on the branding task:
- How potent is the brand at the moment?
- How this brand can be molded in order to increase customer retention rates?
- How this brand can be leveraged to get new customers
- Who is the top player in the industry?
- What are the takeaways that can be taken from this player?
- Have a robust understanding of customer preferences – The firm needs to go all-out here. Understanding the customers’ preferences can be done through various channels- surveys, focus group discussions, observation etc. It is also important to analyze whether the firm’s core value proposition complements the target markets preferences. Also, it is important to rank preferences. The ranking will help the firm tailor its products/services more efficiently. This will also give the firm clues as to possible changes in consumer preferences in the future.
3.Diversify offerings- This is absolutely crucial. As a firm grows, it must look to capture new markets by means of new offerings. New offerings can ensure sustainability in the sense that if one product fails, the other(s) can keep the business afloat. The whole point is that the firm has to navigate across various industries to curtail risks and exploit opportunities.
4.Embrace technology- Decisive insights can gleaned via the use of technology. For instance, a firm can use digital marketing tools to gauge the effectiveness of their digital campaigns, track consumer activity, conversion rates, bounce rates, average views per site, click through rates etc. Also, business intelligence systems can facilitate good decision making by structuring data, also real time updates can help a firm make moves accordingly.Also internet technologies enable firms to drive down costs by eliminating the need for a physical space to sell products or services.
5.Spot openings-Identify areas in the market that can be exploited. Tap into your connections for a free advice or scan the environment for potential gaps that have not yet been filled. Of course, before a firm treads into new territory(markets), it must do the math, for example, finding the market potential, potential moves that can be made by competitors, the firm’s own capabilities, consumer characteristics etc.
6.Forging an environment that is conducive to change- It is very important to develop a learning culture where employees welcome change and is constantly on the look-out to learn new things. This leads to flexibility which can help the firm execute a rapid response during emergencies or during opportunistic times.
Tahmid Sadman is a guest contributor to Gradinsights, the career research service of GradConnect. He can be reached at [email protected] More articles from Tahmid and the GradInsights team can be found at www.grad-insights.com.