Effective Business Strategies for your Project - Coping with Change: Developing Growth and Survival Strategies

Posted on 01/31/2017 at 01:29 PM by Shannon Hoyle

How does one deal with change and plan to succeed, even in tough situations?  It is important to understand that there usually are pronounced differences between any business’s goals, the strategy to get there, and the management necessary for different aspects of the project.  The key to making it all work is to incorporate all of these very different things into a cohesive action plan.

So where is a good place to start the process?  A good first strategic move is to clearly and objectively look at your current success with the project.  Concentrate only on your strengths, dissect them, then objectively separate and attribute them according to strength of product or service, strategy and planning, leadership or key personnel, and finally… --Luck (receptive marketplace, outstanding new cooperator, etc.).   If you need help with this, there are a lot of public-domain resources available to help you with this process.   One way to do it is simply to get a white-board or large paper pad and start collecting ideas from your group.  Concentrate on collecting the ideas.  Discuss, analyze, group, and summarize what you found under a master “strengths” header.  Set this aside until you have had a chance to dig into the market analysis, your weakness, etc.

The next step is to evaluate your strengths in terms of strategic logic.  Strategic logic has various facets.  At its simplest level, it is the concept of looking at the true price of your product, supply and demand within the market, why the market wants your product, and then how you sustainable make a reasonable profit (margin) above the cost of your product or service.  To do this, one needs to mine all of the internal and external human-, financial- and market-driven data that is relevant to your project’s success or failure.

There are many ways to do this.  In a nutshell, here is a quick summary of the process.  Brainstorm individually or in groups, with or without outside cooperators; consider where you fit in the market and how to collect data that gives you solid performance benchmarks.  Evaluate the market for your product and the strengths of your organization with the objective of seeing how to build or expand your markets and strengthen the organization.  Think about how you can test some of your ideas by accessing additional information or running it by people who use your products, this could range from simply subscribing to an on-line research service to organizing mediated focus groups.  Rank your finding by importance and perhaps group as you see fit; put together an executive summary that uses the least number of words to most informatively describe your situation.  Then act on what you know, or still need to find out, by developing a plan to use that data in the form of an actionable list.

Another key point is to understand the “role of history” in any business strategy.  Often overlooked, a critical aspect of any business-development plan is digging into why similar projects succeeded, and more importantly, why others failed.  Over time, various events could have resulted from any number of combinations of human, market or changing technological factors.  The more you can recognize, separate and understand them, the better able you will be to gauge what is happening with respect to your role in your market.

Editor's Note: "Effective Business Strategies for your Project: Coping with Change: Developing Growth and Survival Strategies" is part one of a four part series written by Dan Burden, AgMRC Program Specialist. 
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