“Know your enemy well but know yourself the most”
Building on the theme of Sun Tzu ‘The art of War’ 400BC, many businesses will need to re-design and refine their strategies for 2012 and onwards to ensure successful competitive advantages ahead of challenging new markets. In the city of London so many companies are focused on the ‘enemy’ or competitor whilst their own internal organisation is not functioning anywhere near it should be to achieve optimum output and performance, potentially shortening its own commercial lifecycle.
The Internal Strategy
Getting your own house in order is the most critical thing as of 2nd January 2012 (that is if you are a director who can manage to sleep over Christmas whilst existing and new competitor brains outwit your current positioning and charge into your markets more effectively).
It is the most basic of principles; Charity starts at home. Internal first, external second else all you ensure is that the likely output of your organisation is not wow, not effective and certainly not one that commands retention from customers addicted to the digital click tick (Like) and move on market.
The more and more businesses get to know their own commercial identity and personality they will start to see a different approach to finding solutions that can close highlighted market gaps (not always known by firms) and win critical loyalty through the recognition of business action from responsive paying consumers.
In the business you are working in, does the current business operations stifle or create innovation, creativity and revenue? Is this because your workload model is ineffective, out of date or just a corporate ‘must have’ spreadsheet rolled out by the army of number crunchers that shouts how it works effectively?
When these processes, systems or structures were last evaluated or reviewed? What investments if any were made in supporting the complex day to day business activities to ensure succinct and competent business survival?
The External Strategy
Knowing in detail your key customer groups/stakeholders and satisfying them regularly is where most businesses are missing a trick in today’s market. Competitive Intelligence (CI) has never been so crucial in winning, securing and retaining business both B2C and B2B globally. Not enough is done to fully understand and respond to raw data that has a pattern and a picture to demonstrate to the senior teams.
Providing actionable data that is timely and appropriate from raw data will demonstrate to the business world that you really do mean business. Secondly you will be able from this identified data to understand the need to protect business activities against competitor intelligence that will being gathered on your operations and at some point soon they will try to steal or capture some of your well earned thunder. Keeping an eagle eye is critical to winning.
If you are unable to see key obvious trends or key performance indicators then design your own portal through a detailed CRM process and capture data that is finite and that actually helps you when re-designing your strategy.
Here are key examples of what to look for:
Sun Tzu didn’t have the luxury of digital technologies 2412 years ago, however the distinctive and transparent example of completely understanding a firm’s strategy particular the army (or in today’s case, employees) must be the core principle which literally defines businesses and the designing of strategy. Here’s to 2012. Merry Christmas all.
Kevin Tewis 2012
Published January 2012 http://www.cimlondon.co.uk/blog/