Which business strategies are outlined on the horizon of companies in the coming months?
This is the question made by Gartner [https://www.gartner.com/en/marketing/research/the-annual-cmo-spend-survey-2020-part1], to a group of some CMOs (Chef Marketing Officers). Here some results:
- The 73 percent of the managers predict that the COVID-19 will have a negative impact on the company’s businesses even if with short duration.
- The half of the interviewed (44%) will face budget cuts as a direct consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic. The 11 percent of them expect to face significant cuts of more than 15%.
However, the 79 percent of companies will continue to pursue growth strategies with a relatively conservative stance, primarily based on existing market plans. The following image effectively summarizes the general companies’ mood.
Generally, this kind of mindset, is present in most companies C levels, with the risk to be replicated in most of the company responsibility boxes. Many organizations seem to respect literally the first principle of dynamics, according to which: “Each body perseveres in its state of rest, unless it is forced to change that state by forces applied to it.” So, which are the external forces that can perturbate the quiet state of our companies? This question has not a simple answer: it is not uncommon to meet companies that persevere undisturbed in their beginning strategic direction, that was frozen at the time of their foundation. And they will run along this way until their involution and disappearance.
The Gartner’s numbers support our ones, collected by a survey, built-up the first weeks after lockdown and delivered to our customers and other our interfaces. Probably it was too early (this could be the cause for the little gap between the data of Gartner’s report and our one), but we usually try to precede the market trends, with the aim to reserve to us adequate space and time for our activities. Turning back to the our report, the 57 percent of the interviewees, at the survey period, had a clear idea of what had happened and what was needed to start again immediately, but almost no one had started to think in a prospective way [6/12 months] to evaluate the validity of the strategies frozen at the beginning of the year. This was understandable at that time, but it is certainly no longer admissible now, as we are moving fast to the last quarter of the year. We must consider that, in the next 3/6 months, the companies must try to “safe” the year, but above all they will draw up the new budget and investment plans. All this must take in consideration the approved plans, but the market evolutions, as well. In a nutshell: if today’s operations can be related to strategic views validated in the last 12/36 months, the next strategies could (or should) take into account “unknown situation” evaluated around the 30 percent. As long as the company’s strategists have already started adequate analysis activities.
- How many companies have invested resources and time to define the situation, with the aim to underline company’s new strengths and new weaknesses?
- How many boards have launched new Risk Assessment activities? And How many companies have updated their Risk Management file?
- How many company’s strategists have pushed for “prospects” of new products, new markets and new business opportunities?
- How many managers have thought that all that is needed is just a deep cost control and optimization activity, to discover new efficiencies, since the last frozen business plan is still effective?
Of course, all we know, that it is easier and reassuring to take a blank sheet of paper, make a dot and write to us: “we are here”, rather than, starting from the same blank sheet of paper, thinking to a new paths and new horizons. Especially in a year like this. However, we must remember the old quote that says: “whoever stops is lost”. And it is always valid.
From Gartner’s research, it is possible to take a picture of possible solutions (obviously limited by the viewpoint of the interviewees, but anyway interesting), that could be divided in positive and negative perspectives.
How many companies positioned themselves in the “negative solutions” side because they are locked in the classic logic of cost control, with the final result to postpone investments and new develops?
Lorenzo the Magnificent used to say: “There is no certainty in tomorrow”. This not because we must fill our minds with nefarious scenarios, but rather to take every spark, in the dark, that could create new opportunities. Ultimately, every entrepreneur knows, that he cannot “plays” only in defence; on the contrary instead, it is good to rush into attack to collect as many opportunities as possible, to consolidate the company and to explore new scenarios, both.
The next graph [token by Gartner’s report] could constitute a valid alternative to the common feeling:
Could it have sense to limit one’s conservative vision and possibly increase, a bit, the investments with the focus to understand what it is “positioned” outside our company’s consolidated borders? Could it make sense to invest some resources to be influenced by thoughts, products and ways of operating that are not our typical ones? Has someone even thought that third experiences and external points of view could enhance our classic mindset?
How it could be possible, then, to activate one of the paths here above described, especially today, when we are engaged on many operational fronts, with the aim to safe as much it is possible from this critical situation? But above all, how to quantify the necessary resources since it could seem “crazy” to talk about not necessary costs? It depends from what you define “necessary”!
Certainly, looking at professionals who have a strong entrepreneurial and managerial experience, with whom it is possible to work towards clear and concrete objectives. Do you even hear about Fractional Managers or Temporary Managers? It could be a smart solution.
Let us talk together, sharing our point of view can be helpful for everyone.