1, Pursue Downhill Rides
A Downhill Ride is a market that is conducive to success. The ultimate Downhill Ride is a market that is:
- Growing significantly
- Has high profit margins
- Is not dominated by strong or powerful competitors.
Businesses that enjoy Downhill Rides are in a much stronger position to succeed. The expression “a rising tide lifts all boats” truly applies here. Success is theirs’ to lose.
Businesses that don’t enjoy Downhill Rides (more than 90% of businesses) have two choices if they want to succeed:
- Change direction or focus – to steer towards Downhill Rides
- Focus on doing really well in #s 2-5 below
2. Compelling Value Proposition
Customers are more likely to buy from companies that offer better value, which represents the company’s Value Proposition. A strong Value Proposition could include superior products, great quality, outstanding service, a lower price or attractive terms and conditions.
A Compelling Value Proposition helps a company outsell its competitors – regardless of whether or not they operate in a Downhill Ride. This facilitates growth via increased market share.
Companies that don’t have a Compelling Value Proposition are not differentiating themselves from their competitors. They are essentially a “me-too” business. This makes it very difficult for salespeople to be successful.
An aggressive effort to improve Value Proposition can reap huge rewards for a business.
3. Generate Buy-in
Employees can be turned into a secret and powerful competitive weapon – if they Buy-in!
Employees who Buy-in care about the business, are motivated to go the extra mile, have a spring in their step and are more creative. They are tough to compete against! They are also more likely to help develop, or enhance, a Compelling Value Proposition.
Increasing Buy-in is not very difficult or costly. Companies that unleash Buy-in invariably outperform their competitors.
4. Back Winners
A company is not a monolith – and is generally a conglomeration of business units, products, customers, regions, locations, plants, markets, segments and channels. In most businesses, some of these are high performers – or winners – and some are losers.
Having an accurate information system that allows management to easily and quickly identify and quantify winners and losers can make a huge difference to business success.
Losers should be remediated or eliminated. Winners should be enhanced possibly expanded.
5. Relentlessly Drive Improvement
A culture of continuous and aggressive improvement is a huge contributor to business success. In this environment, people are never happy with current performance levels – and are constantly looking for ways to improve.
Areas to focus on include manpower and equipment productivity; supply chain costs; operating costs; quality; material yields; product and customer margins; customer service levels (on-time delivery and response times for complaints, inquiries and quotes).
Knowledge is the starting point for improvement. An information system that provides this information (often referred to as Key Performance Indicators or KPIs) on a real-time basis facilitates actions that drive improvement.
The improvements that result in cost reduction, better customer satisfaction and profit enhancement can make a significant contribution to business success.
©Copyright, 2020, The Parkland Group, Inc.