Be first or be unique

“You never change things by fighting existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”

I’m not certain from where this quote originated, but in the current macro-environment it couldn’t be more accurate.

We continue to advise our clients that before they have a knee-jerk reaction to tough market conditions, they should instead review their business models and identify new opportunities in their field. “Be first or be unique,” is our message. To achieve this effectively, small and medium enterprises need to find new ways of capturing their target markets and communicate in a way that cuts through to directly connect with them. Yes, brand loyalty still exists but the tools to get it in the first place have changed dramatically. Getting an effective review underway really means that the management team needs to look at the following six key elements, which ultimately combine to strengthen any SME business module:

  • Leadership style
  • Team structure
  • Business plan
  • Products and/or services
  • The market
  • Macro-environment.

The business should also prepare and budget for regular tactical activities to keep it all on track. Obviously these tactics cannot be planned in advance otherwise it wouldn’t be called ‘tactics’. The best way to forecast the direction of business and implement appropriate tactics is to closely follow the macro-environment.

Another important point for management teams to acknowledge is that the source for some of the most effective ideas for strategies can come from team members – this is just what Japanese businesses did post-World War II recovery, and now the top global companies are carrying the same principles for their research and development processes.

When these initial business management strategies are in place, only then will appropriate marketing strategies of naturally come in to place. Short-sighted transactional marketing and advertising activities without a solid business plan, will not produce any long-term benefits. Therefore, each business planning process should include a smart marketer. With the ongoing volatile global economy and significant change in consumer behaviours between two levels of the commerce world, one would be foolish not to acknowledge that the commercial world is constantly evolving. The old ‘bricks and mortar’ economic model is out-dated and the key lesson is for businesses to find ways to adapt to the existing market conditions or develop innovative ways to grow organically.

Dom Ogun
Head of Strategy