Friday, June 11, 2010

Working with Flaws Part II

It is important to indentify weaknesses in any plan, strategy, or venture. These weaknesses are the cause of business disruptions. If these have to take place, it is better to be the one who provoked them (you: the master planner, strategist, entrepreneur) rather than allow your competitors to disrupt your business. To be the first, you need to know where to look. If you already have a good team in place, you are most likely to identify weaknesses in the following areas: marketing and sales; operations; research, development, and engineering; financial management; general management and administration; personnel management; legal and tax structures.

Knowing that flaws in these areas can bring down a sovereign state (see entry of May 29, 2010) should be enough to motivate you to pay close attention to the specifics. Perhaps it would be best to elaborate in one area at a time, even though the CEO of a company should keep a close eye on all seven simultaneously.

Marketing and Sales

Marketing planning: How are you planning to structure your overall sales, advertising, and promotion programs? What are the determining factors in establishing distribution systems? Who are your sales representatives and why?

Market research and evaluation: Are you or someone on your team able to design and conduct market research studies and to consequently analyze and interpret the results? What is your experience with the fundamentals in the field? Have you worked with questionnaire design and sampling techniques before?

Merchandising and Sales: You must feel able to organize, supervise, and motivate your sales team. You must have an understanding of territory analysis in order to forecast account sales potential and to steadily gain market share in the target market.

Customer generation: How are you developing new customers? How are you identifying sales potential within your network and what is the strength of your sales closing record?

Service: What are the needs that arise from particular products or services you are selling? What is your strategy in handling customer complaints and what is the channel that brings these complaints to the CEO’s attention?

Channel management: Have you planned the flow chart of your product from inception to manufacturing to distribution to the customer? Do you have an understanding of the costs involved in each step of the process? How can you buffer the process if one of the parts fails?

Rethinking marketing as the sum of all the parts listed above will help you avoid pitfalls that can ruin your product, reputation, sales, and ultimately your business. Your skills as the CEO should reflect a thorough understanding across all of the aforementioned areas even if you are not an expert in each one. Someone else on your team should be.

No comments:

Post a Comment