Because the economic environment can be very dynamic and fluid, small businesses need to perform periodic assessments to determine the businesses position, mobility and health in the market. And you are that business.
Reynolds and Lancaster (2007) advise that when businesses are performing strategic planning to determine the company’s future marketing efforts, that those efforts mirror sales forecasting. So, when you venture into planning or forecasting, how do you get to the point of making crucial decisions? Try asking some of these essential questions.
Where do you want to go with your business?
• Do you want to move into different markets?
• Do you want to change your brand identity?
• How does the competition interact with you?
• How can we best compete in the market?
Dr. Anne Mooney (2010), Assistant Professor with Steven Institute of Technology suggests that small companies as well as large ask the following questions in order to accomplish effective strategic planning.
What are your core competencies?
• What is your company’s main revenue-generating capability? Mooney (2010) says think of core competencies as the root of a tree. It is what keeps the whole thing going.
What are your comparative advantages?
• What is your capability that makes it difficult for others to imitate, and indispensable in out-performing the competition? Think of this as a valuable resource that your firm has that helps you provide your product and/or service better or more cheaply than the competition
What are your distinctive competencies?
• What is your capability that is visible to the customer, as well as superior to other firm’s to which it is compared and difficult to imitate? These competencies help a company lead in the market when the competencies are superior to the competition. Mooney declares, “Distinctive competencies must be communicated to customers.”
So, how are you doing and how do your customer’s see you? Ask your customers, either through a written survey or verbally.
Identifying your competencies can be useful tool in assisting your firm in acquiring the capital to attain some of the goals and objectives you determined from the initial list of questions.
Now, here is the important question…are you and your customers “seeing” the same thing? In other words, is the image you feel your company communicates the same image your customers perceive?
That is assuming you are reaching your target market. Reaching your target market is especially true in the current economic environment. The efficient and effective use of available resources is vital to the long-term viability of your business. Narrowing down your competencies can make this a reality.
Barsch, P. (2010 November), Win the World Over: Use Comparative Advantage. [1 page] MarketingProfs Daily Fix – BLOG. Available: http://proquest.umi.com
Cook, C. (2004 May), Rules of Engagement; Tips for playing a winning marketing game. [2 pages] Network Journal. Available: http://proquest.umi.com
Jain, S. (1999). Marketing: Planning and Strategy. Cincinnati, OH: South-Western College Publishing.
Mooney, A. (2007 November/December), Core Competence, Distinctive Competence, and Competitive Advantage: What Is the Difference. [7 pages] Journal of Education for Business. Available: http://proquest.umi.com
Reynolds, P. & Lancaster, G. (2007), Predictive strategic marketing management decisions in small firms; A possible Bayesian solution. [13 pages] Management Decision. Available: http://proquest.umi.com
Searle, L. (2002), Has talent, needs customers. [6 pages] Strategy & Leadership. Available: http://proquest.umi.comTweet