How to Best Position Your Company for the New Year
As you begin each new year or new phase in your business, take time to see what needs to change.
I was asked how to best position a company for the new year with market uncertainty looming. We’ve had a solid economic run with rising equity values and dropping interest rates for around a decade. Sure we want it to continue, but will it?
Or are we headed for a slowdown, a bear market? A time to worry about losing revenue and profit due to a drop in market demand for whatever it is we sell? Or is now the time to uncover opportunity in disguise? Either way, having a well planned strategy to embark on will increase your chances for success.
My recommendation? Assess (i) the condition of your products and/or services, (ii) the state of your financials and (iii) the health of your organization chart to position you for future growth. From here you can make informed decisions and devise a stable strategy that has both offenses and defenses designed for growth no matter what the economy throws at us.
Related: How to Prepare Financial Projections
Taking control of your annual business strategy is easier than you think. It’s not planning that can cost you.
Remember, your annual, or business strategy is only one of three ongoing components in your long game.
Assess Your Resources
Change is recurrent in all aspects of business. Seasons change, technology changes, people change. Change is both necessary and unavoidable.
What we had to work with last year is probably different this year. Take stock of what you have to work with. Take stock of what’s changed. For better or worse. Knowing what you have to work with is the only place to start. Otherwise everything you build on top of an unreliable foundation could collapse.
How do you assess changes happening with your business/market fit? You start with an Alignment Map.
Help your entire organization understand your core value proposition, the benefits your customers gain by buying from you. Help understand how your customer markets, and the problems they rely on you to solve, have evolved over time. What opportunities to better serve your markets are growing and under served?
We’re all familiar with 20/20 hindsight. But if it’s not us that took the opportunity all we can do is more of the same. The problem with that? More of what doesn’t work, doesn’t work.
Advancing and improving your business is based on goal setting. The thing is, you have to set achievable goals. They are also very likely sequential, systematic and compounding. Goal setting also takes perspective adjustments. Old perspectives are unlikely to produce new results. You have to want to change.
In any situation there are things out of our control. Similar to assessing what we have to work with, we need to assess what we can control. We can then assume a position of power, of influence. The influence here will help us share our perspective, our approach to solving problems and how we are the right fit for our customers. Our goal is help them identify and/or appreciate new themes, perspectives and new areas of focus.
If we can constructively challenge one another and ultimately supercharge the outcome for both, we’ve created value. The best “fits” create the most value.
Your decisions come from your perspective. Assess your perspective assumptions to clarify your true position. We need to prove that our current behavior, content or pitch doesn’t serve us anymore, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel. We just have to face it. From that point change happens one day at a time. Eventually you’ll create a new pattern of behavior to replace the old one. Keep in mind the ultimate objective for your business are (i) sustainable revenue growth and (ii) quality of earnings.
Leveraging some form of change is how to best position your company for the new year. Organizational change requires strong leadership. Believe that change is possible, and always keep that vision in mind to propel you forward when times get tough. If you don’t have that belief, and if you can’t see the finish line, chances are that you’re going to give up. Before expecting change from others, you have to spark and create the process of change and improve yourself first.
About Ian Shanno
Ian Shanno is a corporate finance enthusiast that has worked in Mergers & Acquisitions, Investor Relations and Management Consulting on around 500 engagements covering a ton of ground. He helps companies advance their productivity and profitability by making improvement suggestions in different functional areas to achieve measurable results, attain transparent investor relations and increase enterprise value. He also helps sellers maximize value in a sale and helps buyers achieve maximum synergies in mergers & acquisitions.