Saturday, October 27, 2012

Competing in a Tough Market

"It's tough out there!" and I think unless some kind of economic miracle happens within the next few months it will continue to be a challenging climate for businesses of all kinds and all descriptions.

I feel that the word 'magic' could be thought of as a great metaphor for business activities and approaches and so the word become a much used acronym for many vital business processes.

It is my intention to offer a short series of 'magical thoughts' for businesses and and entrepreneurs which sum up some important ideas for the survival and success of businesses.

This article focuses upon the "Magic Formula for Success"

M - make good decisions based upon information, feedback, research and reflection

A - know what it is you are trying to achieve

G - generate a plan to meet those needs, review it but follow it

I - investigate other ideas and possibilities carefully - be creative

C - collaborate with trusted colleagues, businesses and services.

All pretty obvious stuff, but the kind of things which are sometimes overlooked and are always worth thinking about.

Making Good Decisions.

This implies that you know what kind of information you need; the kind of metrics you will be able to use and have the thinking skills to make effective (not emotional) decisions.

Edward De Bono has frequently noted how often people think they are thinking clearly when they are, quite frankly, not. As William James said, 'most people think they are thinking when they are simply rearranging their prejudices!"

Good thinking is about process based upon critical, evaluative and creative thought processes built around accurate information.

Knowing what your Aims are.

Again this seems like an obvious thing, but as a business can you clearly state your aims in terms of what you need to survive economically and how these aims link to your core values and attitudes?

In an economic crisis it is easy to see that some businesses forget their higher goals in the race to capture income and increase profits - which of course is a very short term view.

Generate a plan to meet aims

Business plans are those things which small businesses in particular generate for other people (i.e. Banks) and forget how vitally important for reviewing progress. They are not meant to be dusty documents, but active, evolving and dynamic records of a businesses ambitions. In all businesses cash flow is king, so actively reviewing plans is a vital strategy when it comes to survival in an economic downturn.

Investigate other possibilities and options

I suspect there are very few, if any, businesses that could claim that there processes are perfect and their systems foolproof. This step, however, is not simply about reflecting upon internal structures, but also about considering other ways of meeting needs within the market.

One of the key attributes of many businesses which will survive this economic crisis is the ability to respond creatively so exploring other income streams. Flexibility is the key.

Collaborate with others

I believe that the day of small businesses 'going it alone' are numbered. Large organisations can leverage the intellectual and financial capital of its component parts, smaller businesses have tended to be somewhat insular in their approach for fear of losing out to the competition. In this climate businesses which actively seek to cross-promote as well as networking with others for things like training, consumable supplies and shared marketing opportunities I think will fare better than those continuing to be insular and inwardly focussed.

Its about developing a proactive business community.


Dr Alan Jones in an NLP Trainer, Motivational Speaker and Educational Coach who has worked with a wide range of clients including international organisations, education authorities, professional training providers and individuals.

You can find out more about his work by visiting

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