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Times are changing, rethink your strategy

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Changes in the international business environment have no doubt been impacting and will continue to impact on the lives of individuals as well as businesses throughout the world. Increases in the cost of inputs have led to the prices of products increasing for consumers causing many consumers to become fearful of falling living standards resulting from loss of jobs, homes, and other material assets.{{more}}

At the same time, business owners worry that they may lose their businesses and livelihoods. They fear that their customer base will shrink if rising inputs lead their products to become unaffordable. For some, the threat of bankruptcy is inevitable, if the economic situation does not recover.

Since everyone is being affected, it is time that we pay greater attention to what is happening and assess our individual as well as business situation.

1. Firstly, we need to determine the worst case scenario for our families as well as for our businesses. If the worst happens, where would that leave us? What assets (things of value) or resources do we have that we can use to tide us over? As business owners we need to take a look again at our business plans and determine if they are still relevant or whether or not we need to come up with one that’s more relevant to the current times.

2. Secondly, we need to determine what strengths we have. Determine how we or our business can be of greater service. We should consider the qualities we have and the things we do well, even if we do not make any money from them at present. From the level of our business, we should identify its uniqueness and examine our products to see what makes it different from other products on the market. Can it be easily substituted if the price increases? Is it something that consumers have to purchase?

3. Thirdly, we need to identify the areas where we can change or make improvements in our personal life as well as in our businesses. What actions can we take to retool ourselves for changes in the job market? If we are employed with others, do we have what it takes to become self-employed? On the part of our business, in what ways can we change our current products to fit with changing market needs? Is there a segment of the market that we were not catering to and can now consider accommodating? Do we need to change our business processes and systems to ones that are more efficient, productive and profitable? We must examine business traditions and practices to identify areas that we need to revamp or overhaul to meet the new needs in the market.

4. Fourthly, we need to identify the resources that we would need to help us to make the change. What resources will we need to meet and maintain our desired quality of life? Can our business provide the resources it requires to provide the new products it has identified, or will we need to create partnerships to do so? Do we know other businesses that we can network with to help us maintain our strength in the market or find new opportunities?

To cope with changes, we have to rethink our strategy. We have to keep monitoring the situations as they arise and, above all, plan ahead so that we are not caught off guard.

Submitted by the Centre for Enterprise Development Inc. We are located in the Singer Building on Lower Bay Street. Our telephone numbers are 784-451-2235/6. Email us at [email protected]