Are You Leading Your Industry or Following It?

Any CEO or marketing executive that has been in the business world for any length of time has come to a fork in the road that could potentially make their company a lot of money or put it into danger. Too often these decisions are made but what is called ‘Gut Feeling’ and when things work out the CEO tells the story proudly how he just felt that was the right thing to do.

But if the company takes a nosedive that same CEO immediately reaches for what we call, “Reason Why Copy” or explanations of why things didn’t work out. Making quick knee-jerk decisions is never a wise way to run a business, of any size, and yet this is more than often the case than the exception.

A much-preferred path is to stop everything you are doing and take three giant steps backward from the challenge, and then consider six issues:

  1. What has changed in our industry that wasn’t present before this challenge occurred?
  2. What changes have our customers made that they weren’t doing before?
  3. Is this a cyclical challenge we face each year?
  4. Which of our product lines are selling at the same or higher levels of the previous year, and which ones are selling at lower levels?
  5. What new competitors are there in our market?
  6. What can we do using our present resources to launch new product solutions to combat these new challenges, and what resources from outside sources are available to us to become competitive?

Unfortunately, most CEOs who face these types of challenges rush to their P/L Statements to figure out what to cut to keep their expenses in line with their income. Although this is a very good practice as a general rule, it hardly serves a company’s best interest if this is its key strategy it uses to stay in business. There are a number of things wrong with this approach.

Tom Marin is the president of MarketCues, a national consulting firm. Tom serves as a senior advisor and change-management consultant with 35 years of experience. He has worked for some of the world’s largest corporations, as well as middle-market firms. Tom's focus is to plan and drive strategy shifts and strategic growth programs in the printing industry and a diverse range of market areas.
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