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How to Strengthen Your Business In Evolving Market Conditions

During turbulent economic times, organizations can face unprecedented impacts to their business. Recently, we provided a Risk Assessment Framework to assist companies in evaluating risk and planning for uncertain times. However, downturns can motivate businesses to pursue permanent changes and investments that could drive greater success long-term, even as economies stabilize, and turn risk into opportunity.

We recommend that leaders assess various areas of their businesses to determine how to better serve their team members and their customers. We have provided an Opportunity Assessment Framework that allows companies to review potential opportunities internally and externally to strengthen their business model. In particular, companies should examine opportunities in relation to their staff, business operations, product and service offerings, finance and their clients.

Operations Opportunity Assessment

Due to current global events, many companies are looking into the success of their teams working remotely. During times of evolving market conditions, we recommend businesses consider a broad range of operational opportunities that can drive growth. Leaders should assess various ways to better enable its people to achieve long-term success, as well as potential investments to improve the company’s finances and resilience.

Factor

Key Points

Scoring Criteria

People

What opportunities exist to strengthen and grow employees?

  • Are there opportunities to expand employee learnings and knowledge sharing, (e.g. online learning platforms)?
  • Can new programs be implemented to strengthen the company culture?
  • Can new communication models strengthen the team?
  • Are there opportunities for staff to think differently and share ideas?
  • Can decisions be made quicker and more efficiently?

1 = low opportunity

5 = high opportunity

Operations Continuity

What opportunities exist to strengthen business continuity?

  • Can the company develop new ways of providing their services?
  • Can staff be trained to provide additional value to the business?
  • Are there opportunities to test new technology within the business?
  • Can any responsibilities currently outsourced be brought in-house to improve performance, and vice versa?
  • Are there opportunities to review the supply chain with an emphasis on streamlining the process (can the company go direct-to-source?)

1 = low opportunity

5 = high opportunity

Financial Stability

What opportunities exist to grow financially?

  • Can the company improve cash positions?
  • Are there opportunities to invest in the corporate infrastructure to increase efficiencies (i.e. systems, tools)?
  • Can the company change terms of sale to increase deposits upfront and enable shorter terms of credit?
  • Can the company utilize access to lower cost of capital?
  • Are there government finance programs or other financial incentives available to the company (e.g. investment tax credits)?

1 = low opportunity

5 = high opportunity


Customer and Industry Opportunity Assessment

There are many potential opportunities for businesses to consider external of their business operations. Particularly, companies can consider how to provide more value to their customers and build deeper relationships with their business partners. Examples would include bundling solutions sets or utilizing new communications strategies. Harnessing opportunities like these to drive further value from new and existing relationships will help enable long-term success.

Factor

Key Points

Scoring Criteria

Industry

What opportunities exist in the industry?

  • Can the company expand into new sub-verticals?
  • Are there new partners in the industry to explore?
  • Are there consolidation or acquisition opportunities?
  • Can the companies thought leadership extend deeper in the industry?
  • Are there new opportunities as a result of prospective customers underserved by competitors?

1 = low opportunity

5 = high opportunity

Relationship

What opportunities exist to strengthen the client relationship?

  • Are there new ways to communicate with customers?
  • Can the sales cycle be improved and optimized?
  • Are there ways to improve terms?
  • Can the company share best practices with its customers?

1 = low opportunity

5 = high opportunity

Product and Service Offerings

What product opportunities exist?

  • Can the company understand and help solve problems its customers are facing?
  • Are there opportunities for new services offering?
  • Are there existing solutions that are now more valuable to the customer?
  • Can implementations and services be completed in new ways?
  • Can the development cycle be optimized?

1 = low opportunity

5 = high opportunity


Evaluating Opportunities

The above Opportunities Assessment Framework is designed to help guide companies begin identifying potential strategies and methods to improve and grow their business long-term. Upon implementation, businesses should have ongoing communications with their staff to ensure that new programs are having a positive impact, and to get any input on adjustments required to further enable their success.

Similarly, we recommend companies evaluate financial and operational results to see if investments in new infrastructure, technologies or service offerings are driving growth. We also recommend businesses have open and regular discussions with their clients and supply chain partners to determine the impact of new changes on external parties.

Conclusion

Opportunities arise when companies evaluate their performance, particularly during turbulent times, and closely examine which areas they can improve most upon. Leaders know that there are always new and ongoing risks to their business. However, with procedures in place to identify and evaluate them, successful companies can go beyond risk-mitigation and create competitive advantages that enable long-term success.