Leveraging Market History to Guide Your Business

NOV
24
2014
NOV 24, 2014

Role-Playing in Various Market Conditions


This may sound like an obvious topic, however, there is more than meets the eye. Yes, the markets affect your business directly as a public company and also indirectly as a private company. When markets are up, revenues in both the public and private sector seem to be in lockstep. When markets are down, well you know the typical outcome. In the natural order of things, we likely wouldn’t have it any other way.  But these facts are clear and most businesses ride the wave of up markets and down markets – simply working with what has been thrown their way, slow to adjust and late to correct when markets change direction or swing wildly. Reactive vs. proactive. Unknowingly gambling their longevity.
 
But how can I be proactive?  I'm not a stock market
expert nor do I truly follow the markets!
 
Not many of us are the ‘Kenny Polcari’ of the stock world (although that would help), but there is another way. Overall, the stock market can be a great barometer for your business or industry, but only at exactly the present time. No one can predict with much accuracy where it is going.  But you have history on your side and you know that regardless of the market's current trending, history will repeat itself - at times the market will peak, it will drop, it will be stagnant, it will surprise. This is the ‘norm’ for markets. In recent years it seems the frequency of these ‘norms’ has increased and that is why in the businesses that I consult it is highly recommended that they immediately prepare for up cycles, down cycles and also neutral cycles – specifically in their packaged product and service offerings.
 
Most people will state that some industries are recession-proof.
I believe that companies can be recession-proof, regardless of their industry.

 
Fact is, companies will always be somewhat forced into a follower role in the ever-leading markets, but having your variable products/offerings in place ahead of time allows the flexibility and readiness to quickly outperform your competitors in any market conditions. More importantly, enacting them when the markets or overall economy are in flux, not after the new trend has been identified. Put yourself through the simple exercise of evaluating your company’s current projects/services and transport yourself to a 100% customer’s viewpoint. After all, it doesn’t matter how much you believe in your projects or services as this won’t make them sell better in any given economy. Following are a few questions to ask yourself, from a customer’s viewpoint, for each of the market cycles (up market, down market, neutral market).

As a customer of my company...

-  Do the products/services further my specific company goals for current market conditions?

-  Are these products/services required for my business to grow or survive?

-  Are the products/services priced correctly for this market and associated economic conditions?

-  Are the products/services tied to growth (expansion) or money savings (contraction)?

-  Does the market call for a turn-key (full) solution or supplemental (part) product/service?

-  What is the tolerance on time duration for ROI in this market?

Now, take your core products/services and package them for each of the 3 market states. You may find that for the same product or service it makes sense to simply market it from a different value-add viewpoint or to a different industry. Conversely, it is possible that you realize that certain products or services that are current revenue leaders in an up economy take a back seat to other offerings in a down economy.  This may also force changes to your product lines, service offerings and marketing focus. There are no bad outcomes from these exercises, only realizations. And they should be completed in advance.
 
Create your strategic plan early, role-play often.

Having a simple strategic plan for your business can pay off big time. Most companies follow the vicious and serial cycle of sales, implementation, sales, implementation… and on and on. Although this can work for a period of time, it is by no means a successful long-term strategy. Your company is inevitably heading for a fall, or at the very least, some rough times. Focus on creating fully packaged service offerings and/or products core to your business AND for specific market conditions (up, down, neutral). Have all of them ready now. When you are in an up market, focus some effort on reviewing what is working now and what areas of this current successful formula will likely not work in a down economy. Vice versa, when you are in a down economy, take the time to understand what areas are currently working and understand what will likely not work in an up economy. In today's propped-up markets, you may just do your company and yourself a big favor.

For a free 30 minute session focused on:

 

- How to assess the effectiveness of your existing products/offerings for varying market conditions,

- Tips on how to package best-selling offerings for your organization,

- Suggestions on how your company could benefit from an effective market strategy,

 

Schedule your free session via email - email mark.pfister@integralbg.com.