As the old adage has it, we are living through interesting times. Costs are rocketing for businesses and consumers alike, and our money is buying less than it did. This means you’re paying more to run your business, and your equally squeezed customers have less disposable income to spend with you.
Today we’re taking a look at how you can craft a business strategy for these changing times – an especially useful exercise if you originally set down your core values and strategies in a more prosperous era.
The first thing to consider is if it’s worth getting some expert help to revamp your business strategy. While London strategic consulting firms will cost you a fee, their insight and broad base of knowledge will be a huge asset. It’s rather more realistic for you to buy in this well of knowledge when you need it than to try and acquire the same base of expertise and skills.
Before you start setting things in stone, it’s important for you to understand the circumstances you’re operating in – don’t assume old research still applies, start again. You need to know who your customers are and what they think of you, who your competitors are and what they’re likely to do, and the ongoing state of the market, including predictions of what’s going to happen in the future.
As we head into a period of lower liquidity, lower revenue and higher costs, it may be the time to turn away from some risk. This doesn’t mean turning away from ambition, but it does mean your strategy has to prioritise risk avoidance more. Costing projects becomes more important, efficiency should be a core value if it wasn’t before and you need to take a look at your financing: avoiding exposure to bad debts and credit is vital for weathering the coming storm.
For example, if you don’t have a rigidly enforced payment policy for your clients, you’ve effectively turned yourself into a creditor for them, and if you don’t make it clear you’ll be seeking payment within a set period (28 or 30 days most normally) you might find some invoices go unpaid for long periods – if they’re paid at all – at a time when you need that revenue.
While market research is an expense, trying to do without it is the worst kind of false economy. Spending more on being able to make informed decisions that are more likely to lead to a healthy return for you is vital, especially in more financially perilous times.
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