marketing and sales executives from Silicon Valley

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Be a sustainability business shark

Sharks have thrived for eons, and not by waiting it out.
Is your business still moving, or waiting for more target-rich times?
Many firms are hanging on in survival mode, but need a more sustainable focus to thrive.

Witness the growing number of government-owned companies, and those successful mainly via acquisitions - it seems harder to make a sustainable business these days. What sustains a business, really? Customers, of course. So could too much internal business focus actually be a problem?

At large and small businesses alike, I experienced the daily draw to focus internally - after all, these are the people in front of you every day. It's easier to deal with what is in front of you. Easier positive feedback loop too. There's something to be said for a tight organization, esprit de corps and all, but in this economy, with every customer watching their spend, lack of customer focus could be the critical factor in whether your company is on the way up or down. And that could make for some uncomfortable internal meetings. Like layoffs. Which, by the way, are easily quantifiable ‘benefits’ to the organization (at least in the very short term).

But consider some longer term business sustainability thinking.
How about words like value creation, unique value proposition, and customer satisfaction? Would things work better for business if those terms were more commonly used today? If all hands focus on cost-cutting, or on the internals of the ship, who's left to ensure it serves its intended purpose, taking customers where they need to go, and encouraging them to book another trip?

Customers aren’t interested in our ship, just in where it can take them. And cost-cutting invariably springs leaks.

Given economic recoveries last much longer than recessions, now is the time to soak up all the mindshare, marketshare, and wallet-share of weaker, less-focused companies. And enjoy a the longer ride up.
Why just survive, when you can thrive?

Next post will take a look at using this recession to work out the fundamentals and getting your business model right to provide security and profits for the long-term: Still on a cost-cutting diet, or finding fresh meat?

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