Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Zig While Others Zag

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Zig While Others Zag

Article excerpt

As I enjoyed the traditional events and activities that make up Thanksgiving with my family, I'm sure many of you were also enjoying your traditions. And though the initial shock of Sept. 11 still lingered, for one day there was a welcome respite from the economic anxiety, uncertainty and challenges we face as business operators.

For many people, me included, Thanksgiving begins a monthlong period of reflection, a mental journey over the recent year's accomplishments and a look at the challenges and opportunities of the coming year.

Reflecting back over the past decade is a trip that many of us don't want to end. Business was good. Record revenues and profits were easily achieved.

How quickly things have changed. Today people are more reluctant to freely spend. Purchases are much more rationalized.

Your true test as a business owner or manager has arrived. How you respond to these changing consumer attitudes will greatly determine the level of success your enterprise achieves in the coming years. While the economic outlook at present is questionable, being better prepared for the next economic upturn will help you achieve your desired goals.

Here are a few thoughts to consider as you prepare your company for the future.

l Undertake strategic planning.

The purpose of strategic planning is to uncover your true competitive advantages. During cycles of economic growth, managers get too involved in working in the business instead of working on the business. There is a tendency to think only of the here-and-now vs. what's next. A robust economy produces a lot of "me too" products and services with no real point of differentiation. The strategic planning process enables you to develop a better understanding of your company's products, services, markets, and competition.

Influenced by the current economic cycle, certain industries will undergo radical change. Good strategic planning will ensure you're correctly positioned to operate profitably well into the future.

* Execute aggressively.

Planning is one thing. Execution is another. A great plan has no value if it's not properly executed. Many companies develop great plans that are never completely put into action. …

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