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Business Strategy in a Broken Economy

By University Alliance
Business Strategy in a Broken Economy

Global markets are in a volatile state, with several European countries and the United States facing varying levels of economic crisis. Consumer confidence in the U.S. remains low, unemployment remains high, and the business outlook is rather pessimistic. With all of this bad news, what can a business do to not just survive, but thrive through this broken economy?

Effective business leaders recognize the opportunities presented by a troubled economy when firms worldwide have become weaker or ceased operations altogether. This time of crisis can be the right time for leadership to rise above economic troubles and strategize to take advantage of the possibilities presented by declining competition.

Effective Business Strategies to Succeed Through Economic Crisis

What can a company do to emerge even stronger from a tough economy? Here are several ways leaders can use vision, strategizing and, of course, solid performance to weather the crisis.

  • Inward Strategic Analysis: One widely-recognized business strategy involves looking inward. First, analyze the competitive advantages of the business and identify its distinctive capabilities, which are those that can be reproduced internally, but are not easily replicated by your competitors. These may include patents, copyrights, a strong brand presence, outstanding leadership, stable customer relationships or proprietary industry knowledge. Leveraging these distinctive capabilities allows a firm to outperform its competition.

    Then, create a support system for the distinctive capabilities, with reproducible capabilities such as financial, legal, human resource and technical expertise, for the means to promote the distinctive capabilities that only your firm can bring to market. Where the firm lacks capabilities, seek out skilled talent that can build these areas. Look to those individuals let go by the competition for even greater industry insight.
  • Strengthen the Brand: Determine your best-fit customer, and focus efforts on communications that speak to them. Develop a brand persona for the company and its products or services that remind customers of superior value and benefits, along with the distinctive capabilities that no other brand can provide.
  • Manage the Brand: Social media has changed the way firms interact with their customers. It’s vital for companies to stay on top of what consumers are saying about them on the Internet – through social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, on blogs and news sites, and through customer comments on the corporate website. Take charge of managing the brand and its reputation, and protecting these assets in an environment where a small misstep can mean disaster. 

    Embrace the idea of inviting the public to share their opinions. A more open exchange of information is expected and appreciated by your customers. While potential users of your products and services are more likely to ask other users what they think, rather than trust a corporate message, your customers are still willing to hear it when they approve of the communication channel. Succeeding in social media marketing means providing pertinent information that users want, through their channels of choice.
  • Set Achievable Goals – and Then Stretch: Jack Welch, the former CEO of GE and legendary leadership guru, encouraged his people to reach for the impossible. Setting goals that can only be achieved by significant effort is one way to excel, as many teams are motivated when their initial goals are attainable, and then stretched beyond what was thought to be possible.

    Challenging your company to reach objectives that require significant effort is one way to push beyond its current performance level, even in a broken economy. Ford Motor Company is a good example of how a large corporation can endure the steepest sales downturn in decades – and not only survive, but remain profitable and increase market share to become the No. 2 automobile seller in the U.S. in 2010.

    Ford was the only U.S. automaker that did not turn to a government bailout, which solidified its reputation and helped win new customers. A risky 2006 decision to borrow $23.6 billion helped Ford move quickly to bring new products to market, and provided a cushion of cash to fall back on when the economy began falling apart in 2008. The firm followed up with an aggressive strategy to increase sales from 5.3 million to 8 million vehicles a year – on par with Toyota, the world leader. Ford’s leadership stretches beyond simply achievable goals to meet ever-higher objectives.

Strengthening Leadership and Strategy Skills is Fundamental

Simply surviving the volatile economy may not be enough to sustain a business through the years to come. Leaders must look inward and assess what it will take to not only survive, but to come through even stronger; this may involve making tough decisions and capitalizing on mistakes made by weakened competition.

Business professionals who are proactive will be ready to take on these challenges with the skills and knowledge it takes to reach what may seem like unachievable objectives. The first step is educating yourself: increase your leadership skills through business coursesonline leadership certification courses and professional development courses. You’ll come through the economic downturn with the ability to help your firm thrive.

When you help your organization succeed, you’ll achieve greater career success, too. Consider joining the proactive leaders who invest in learning new skills through business courses. Online education makes it easier than ever to improve your leadership and strategizing abilities and earn the leadership certification that can set you apart from your competition – and help your company outperform its competition.

See Frequently Asked Questions for online requirements, accreditation, class schedule and more.


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Category: Leadership and Management