Strategies for Developing Business Strategy are Shifting

The world is changing five times more quickly today than was the case less than a decade ago. Three trends that now shape corporate strategy in ways we could not envision a short while ago: i) Growth of Globalization and economic interconnections. ii) Increasing emphasis on Social Enterprise (CSR) and a new focus on the triple bottom line. iii) Tech dependence and with it as many troubles as triumphs.

Companies need to be equally nimble at adjusting their business strategies to suit the shifting business and competitive landscapes. Failure to do so frequently leads to failure.

Does this mean that you change your long-term vision? Sometimes. More often, the long-term vision and strategy will remain unchanged… provided they were built on a solid foundation of current research that included an assessment of macro-environment and customer needs and buying trends. What will need to change, in most instances, is the route you take to get to that point five years out on the horizon.

Even if yours is an industry that is not tech-dependent, or in which change happens slowly, this may not be true of the industries in which your key customers operate, and you will need to adjust accordingly.

The Canadian Business Success Centre’s five-step approach includes:

  • Developing a strategy based on a solid understanding of current market conditions and trends.
  • Identifying the optimal organization needed to bring the strategy to marketplace along with the necessary core competencies (and we look at what you might need to add or eliminate) and the best use of other financial and non-financial resources.
  • Determining whether there is good cultural alignment within the organization to deliver the strategy – making recommendations when the answer is “no”.
  • Determine the correct positioning for the brand to realize the chosen strategy.
  • Recommending the right messaging and marketing communications activities needed to influence all stakeholders and drive business.

Not All Businesses are Changing at the Speed of Sound

Some industries have not changed for decades – and may not for many years to come. The traditional approach of research followed by planning, implementation and auditing, remains sound. Other industries are emerging; as new companies in the spaces enter the market there is no need for change… yet. There is such diversity of business type and industry today, that it’s not possible to take a “one-size-fits-all” approach to strategy development and expect it to be effective.

No Cookie Cutters for Your Dough

Unfortunately,without proper parameters in place, the pursuit may appear as pointless as chasing the proverbial pot.Today, more people are loyal to “the deal” than they are to a particular company or brand. Loss-leaders are designed to lure customers in to make larger purchases, too. If the people who keep coming back are the ones who only cherry-pick your flyer specials, then they are hurting your bottom line. The same is true of business customers who eat up your profit margin with constant complaints and requests for special treatment or refunds and rebates.

The Canadian Business Success Centre team is also adept at getting to the root cause of a problem, to the heart of a situation. We work with you to help pinpoint the exact reasons why your brand is where it is today. Whether it is in floundering in deep waters, or simply treading water instead of racing to the finish line, we will develop multiple options for turning things around.

We then work with you to design the right solution –a solution that is not only creative, but appropriate for your specific set of circumstances.

The same holds true when it’s a case of a brand getting its toes wet for the first time. We can help ensure that things go “swimmingly”, if you will.

The processes we have developed, and the tools we use, are proprietary and proven. Although the approach we may take is consistent, there is nothing cookie-cutter about the results. Our solutions are unique to every client with whom we work.

Always Adding to Our Toolbox

Although it’s critical that the corporate strategy developed be as unique as the company itself, there are frameworks that can serve as guides for the building of effective business strategies. Each needs to be chosen and adapted based on the industry, company, country and specific situation. CBSC is skilled at reading the business landscape and choosing the appropriate corporate strategy approach.

Interestingly, we are increasingly finding that it is necessary to use multiple frameworks concurrently as companies often have multiple divisions and product lines in multiple countries around the world.

Five of the Frameworks CBSC Uses

1. In a more traditional situation characterized by low tech or low rate of tech change and/or where strong brands offer some protection against competition, a more traditional approach is warranted. The situations, CBSC will…

  • Analyse the situation,
  • Identify the best place to be five years that on the horizon based on consumer and industry trends,
  • Develop plans to get there,
  • Implement (provide implementation guidelines),
  • Audit the progress over time, and
  • Make adjustments as necessary.

2. In turbulent industries, especially those in tech or are in ones that are highly tech-driven, things are moving too quickly to be up to forecast with any certainty. When your business operates in a highly adaptive environment, long-range planning is not possible. You can identify a vision for the company, but you know that this position will likely shift over time – and not much time, at that.

In these instances, the best approach is to…

  • Experiment (with risk assessment and mitigation practices in place)
  • Select
  • Scale-Up (determine how to make the idea work effectively with a larger audience)
  • Rollout
  • Assess, on a sector-by-sector basis of necessary
  • Quickly adapt and adjust

3. What about when you are bringing new ideas to life and new products to market?

When you are creating new products and services, there is no precedent to fall back on. In these instances your business strategy needs to be:

  • Identify gaps in the market based on unmet customer needs and/or unsolved problems.
  • Envisage a solution keeping in mind Henry Ford’s oft-quoted line: “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” In other words, respond to the problem not the direction provided by your target audience.
  • Realize the solution.
  • Bring it to market and exploit as possible.

4. Centralized on-line hubs, cooperative portals, the sharing economy and other new business models require a different approach, yet again.

Increasingly organizations around the world are learning to work together to be able to capture a larger share of business. When this happens, industries are being reshaped and it becomes almost impossible to predict how things will evolve. This requires a very different approach to strategy than is the case when these players are competing head-on. In these instances, CBSC uses a framework that includes:

  • Collaboration
  • Influencing of players and potential customers
  • Orchestration of activities
  • Auditing, Assessment, Adaptation and Co-Evolving

5. What to do When Survival is at Stake?

As the macro-environment changes, companies sometimes find that their products or services are no longer relevant. When that happens, the focus needs to be on how to maximize the profits and use remaining resources to best advantage while exiting the business. Again, this is an area in which CBSC can help.

Just as the world around us is changing, so too is the approach we take to strategy development. The principals at CBSC are continuously assessing how business is evolving and adding to our Strategy Solution Toolbox.