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Preparing for the Economic Recovery

How you can position your company for growth as business improves

December 2009 By Frank K. Sterns

"It's not the will to win that matters—everyone has that. It's the will to prepare to win that matters."

Paul "Bear" Bryant

Slowly, we are starting to see subtle signs of an economic recovery. While I certainly wouldn't tell you that we have completely weathered the storm, there are indicators that things will improve. If there have been any positives derived from the recent recession, one may be that it has forced most businesses to evaluate every aspect of their existence carefully, resulting in streamlined operations and more effective business strategies. Heading into a new year and the impending economic upswing, this is a crucial time for you to assess the current state of your business and start to position it for potential growth.

Combined with the better business practices you've already set in place, here are a few areas you need to consider as we move into a new year and better economic times:

SWOT Analysis

You should routinely conduct SWOT (Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, Threats) analysis as part of your ongoing business development and operations, regardless of the state of the economic climate. When preparing for the economic recovery, however, this is extremely important. The shifts in the economic cycles and forecast can have a dramatic impact on how your customers spend and how your business operates. During recent months, your company may have been unable to address certain threats or was unable to capitalize on its strengths as a result of limited resources (e.g. fewer employees, reduced inventory, limited finances, etc.) caused by the downturn. Re-evaluate each of these areas and determine what has—and could potentially—change.

Keep an Eye on the Competition

While no one wants to see anyone lose their business, the unfortunate reality is that many companies have suffered as a result of the poor economy. While you may feel like you don't have enough business at the moment, you can at least say you are still in business—this may not be the case for your competition. Evaluate where your company can step in and take market share from a former competitor who may no longer be around. Did they have a large majority of business in a sub-development or business district? Develop a strategy to target that area for new business.

 

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