Is your Business “BRISK”?


Introduction

There was a time when only one used to rule the mobile handset market in the World. The Finnish company Nokia used to have a hefty share of the mobile handset market and they needed not to bother about other competitors because they were flowing almost freely reaching all the targeted customers. They were upgrading themselves at a quite good pace evolving from basic models to camera models to E models and then highly priced and efficient N models. They were happy with their upgraded Symbian OS and continued their marketing strategies banking on the same.

The following chart shows Nokia’s worldwide share from 2009 to 2012 year end

mobile-device-sales

The company which used to have around 461.3 million end users in 2010, was reduced to 333.9 million end users only at the start of 2013.  Today, it has just three percent of the global smartphone market, and its market cap is a fifth of what it was in 2007—even after rising more than thirty per cent. The reasons of Nokia’s abrupt fall is well known to everyone.

This is just a scenario of one of the million businesses which faced lot of challenges and lost their firm steps in the market where they used to relish a hefty share.

I have been going through such stories for a long time and trying to analyze the absolute reasons where these companies failed to lift themselves up to run in the market for a longer time. During my analysis on the same I stumbled upon five important aspects where these companies got stuck before they got obliterated or lost their share in the market. I re-analyzed the situations they faced before they failed in the race and noticed almost each of them got stuck in one or another aspects among these fives.

We can call these five key aspects of a Business as “BRISK”. If an organization concentrate on these aspects properly it will never have a huge setback and can always make a comeback even when it feels it is left behind in the competition.

BRISK

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The core components of BRISK are:

  • Buyers
  • Readiness
  • Intelligence
  • Strategizing &
  • Keenness

In brief I will discuss these elements and will try to provide some steps by which these elements can lead a business to growth or can save the same from lagging behind in the competition. May be there are many more steps that a company can follow under each and every component. I am mentioning just a handful of them to channelize the thought process on the effectiveness of choosing the particular element.

ó  Buyers: Buyers are the most important part of a business. Let it be a B2B or a B2C, without customers who are going to drive the sales resulting in profit? Neglecting the Customers or their preferences will be resulting in such a huge mistake that a business can lose all its importance in no time. There are various methods by which a business can help its buyers to gain the advantage of the market. There are numerous ways in marketing and sales to acquire and retain the buyers to grow the business gradually.

What can we do to keep our customers loyal to ourselves and to penetrate new customer segments:

  • Market Research: To actually know what is the demand of the market and what is the current need of consumers.
  • Customer Relationship Management: Implementing Customer Loyalty, Customer Retention and Customer Engagement Processes.
  • Marketing Plans : Various marketing plans according to the market and consumer behavior
  • Advertisements: Advertisements through Social Media, Printed Media etc. to fetch attention
  • Sales: Efficient Sales team to penetrate prospects and converting them in customers (Customer Acquisition)

A perfect CRM should handle all these steps:

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ó  Readiness: Readiness defines the capability of a business to adapt themselves according to the continuous changes the present market faces. The customer behavior is changing everyday along with the strategies of the competitors. Sticking to a basic plan may not work perfectly. Even the same strategy which is earning you a good amount of share can’t guarantee you the same after a period of time. Businesses have to understand this situations and should become elastic enough to modify themselves according to market needs.

How can a business ensure that they are ready to serve their customers according to their personal and market needs?

  • Developing new competencies and updating the existing ones: Businesses need to develop new competencies according to the changing needs and update the existing ones with time to keep pace with the competitors and offer the best at any time.
  • Employee Training and Management: Sometimes plans get failed because of the rigidness of the employees. That is the reasons employees should be under frequent training whenever there is an update inside the organization to prepare them handle all the situation without being hesitant.

Business Readiness Assessment should look like this:

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ó  Intelligence: In this era of technology every possible data is in reach of all the businesses. Whoever will take the first step to grab the opportunity to use the data will get a better understanding of the market and therefore modify or recreate their approach for a larger benefit. Here I am mainly talking about the use of Business Analytics and Business Intelligence. These two tools are no more a luxury to a business but necessities at present to keep a business ahead of market risk. Analyzing each bunch of data produces so much information which in turn helps a business to apprehend the characteristics of the target market. With all the updated technologies in reach for a minimal amount and less complexity avoiding them can be a huge mistake for the businesses to commit.

We can utilize intelligence for the benefit of a business in following ways:

  • Market Trends: Figuring out the market trends using RFM (Recency Frequency & Monetary) analysis and other similar tools.
  • Consumer Behavior Analysis:  We can use Google analytics to find out what current customers mainly want and what they are searching mostly. From the same we can get a feel of the market demand and plan accordingly.
  • Big Data Analysis: Big data is a sensitive topic and the most discussed scenario nowadays. With the arrival of various efficient tools we can analyze this big size of data to understand the aspects of business and which way can be beneficial to proceed with.
  • Data Extraction: With mighty solutions from technology giants we can now extract important information from accumulated data over time and analyze them to get fruitful results.
  • Gap Analysis: Gap analysis is a crucial step to discover the lag in the process and coming out with a strategy to bridge that gap preventing competitors to take an advantage of it.

 Example of Oracle Data Integrator: How to use data from various Data Source

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ó  Strategizing: Even if all the data have been analyzed to squeeze out the important information nothing will work properly if companies fail to come up with a strong strategy of using the data. Information gives the indication of the trends of ever shifting markets and consumer minds but there arises a need to plan correctly depending on that data or the whole effort of analyzing will fail. To strategize properly a business and to incorporate modifications to previous strategy according to the existing market scenario it needs people with vision, clear knowledge and flexibility in the top management rather than people who are content with the current strategy. A perfect strategy takes care of all the internal and external entities related to the business to drive the growth properly. Following Diagram is a simple example of a strategy:

Untitled

While strategizing we should keep some points in mind:

  • Having a vastly experienced, non-egoistic and flexible strategy team is the most effective one. The team should consists of a mixture of people of various ages to bring in experience of decades together and understand the shifting behavior of buyers.
  • While preparing a strategy the team has to welcome the changes rather doing criticism because they have to understand this is what the market wants. So trying to condemn the present scenario will certainly backfire. They should align the processes according to the changes and then proceed with preparing the upcoming strategy.
  • A successful strategy embraces all the aspects of business. It should take care of all the internal and external relationships. To maintain this relationship the first and foremost element should be Communication. Proper communication helps in building informative relationship bridging the gap of information loss. A strong internal relationship is as important as customer relationship. If the first one fails the later will fail inevitably.
  • Don’t just create a strategy out of the air thinking employees will take themselves up to that level to make it successful. First run through all the departments in the business and assess the capabilities and competencies. Then solve the puzzle according to the strength of the business.
  • The last but not the least always have a secondary plan. As all strategies don’t guarantee you of success until and unless it spends sometime in the market it’s always better to have some alternative strategy to cover up.

ó  Keenness: Keenness is the act of actualize the strategy in the real market scenario. For many companies it has been noticed some outstanding strategies just got stored into the locker room and never got executed nullifying all the hard works made to come out with the strategy. Only lack of self confidence does this harm to the companies. Sometimes they assess the market properly and comes up with good services or products but not being so confident they fail to bring investors or can’t just cross the barrier of hesitancy to enter the market with the same. Until and unless the businesses act they can never have the opportunity to growth.

While discussing the keenness of a company we can hover over the following points:

  • To get into the act first the business has to have full confidence on its strategy. If there is a little bit of ifs and buts existing in the strategy send it to the previous level to revise the same. It’s always better to settle the gaps at the primary stage than covering up the same while it has already gone live. This can save the reputation of the company.
  • While having an efficient strategy at desk the business has to act in full throttle. Always remember competitors are not sitting idly and waiting till you fail. They can utilize a little gap in your action and will create a major setback through that tiny gap.
  • While acting upon the strategy it’s always better to bring on all the departments to work simultaneously so that communication gaps can be eliminated ensuring a better service to the market. Synchronized services are always preferable than creating a waiting line for the next department to respond after the previous one finishes it works.

Conclusion

The word “RISK” itself is a part of the word “BRISK” but they just give you reverse feelings with just the addition of a letter “B”. To be brisk in a business the risk will be there incorporated within it making it the real challenge for the businesses to handle it strategically to deliver value to the ‘B’uyers. If this becomes possible there won’t be any stoppage for the business to emerge as a leader in that domain. I think I will be able to draw your attention towards this concept of BRISK. If one business takes care of these particular points it just can have a smooth ride in the market and can achieve greater success. This ‘BRISK’ theory can really make your business brisk to enjoy success in present market.

If only Nokia would have taken the advantage of getting into Android rather than sticking to Symbian………

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