Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Strategic Planning - What's Working Now

I've been paying close attention to the things my clients are doing that seem to be working right now. Remember, the economy is still functioning around at least 90% of where it was a year ago, so there is plenty of money to be had out there. Here are the strategies that seem to be working:

1. Target emerging customer desires

Emerging customer desires can be general (such as an increased desire for green products) or very specific (such as the new niche for iPhone apps). This strategy requires a bit of forethought about what's going to be cool next year, but the payoff can be huge.

2. Emphasize needs based purchases

When people tighten their belts, they still buy what they need. An emphasis on basics can pay off, but don't overlook the "downshift" appeal of less expensive luxuries, where people subsitute, say, a domestic vacation for an international one, or beer for wine.

3. Use the breather to tune up your operation

You have extra capacity and manpower right now? Prepare yourself...you may not have enough in a few months. Even if you don't expect this, it's wise use a period of low capacity utilization to increase the efficiency of your operation from the ground up - and NOT just by cutting costs! This would be a perfect time to undertake a lean initiative, for example.

4. Acquire competitors who haven't planned for a recession

Some of your competitors undoubtedly didn't prepare as well as you did for a recession. Why not take advantage of this fact and sniff around to see if any of them would be willing sellers?

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