How To Make the Most of 2012

We are currently faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems.  John. W. Gardner.

You may not have heard of the US politician J.W. Gardner but J.F Kennedy may be more familiar.  Echoing Gardner, Kennedy once rather famously said:  The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word “crisis”.  One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity.  In a crisis, be aware of the danger – but recognise the opportunity.

Of course, the above is just a restatement of the fact that optimism helps.  However, like most advice, it isn’t the whole story – optimism only helps in certain circumstances.  We are clearly in an economic crisis with sentiment at a low ebb, which is affecting everyone to some extent, but as you can see by the stream of well known names in trouble it doesn’t affect people equally.  As Warren Buffet said – It is only when the tide goes out that you realise who is swimming naked.

If you are naked, then there isn’t a great deal you can do, you have missed your opportunity and good luck as you fight to survive, or you watch your business slide into oblivion.  However, if you aren’t naked then listen to the wise Johns above and do the following, if you want to make the most of 2012:

  1. Think very carefully about why you are doing better then your competitors.  If this isn’t clear to you it will take some serious thought and maybe a little help.
  1. Put more emphasis on this aspect of your customer proposition in all your communications.
  1. Re-allocate money and increase your promotional budgets to communicate this to your various audiences, particularly customers, to reassure them of your value and to win market share as your competitors struggle to survive.
  1. Make sure that all your investment decisions reflect this prioritisation.

Whilst we all may be a little leaner at the end of 2012 than we are now, on our New Year diet of cost management and risk aversion, don’t miss the opportunity of strengthening your position in your market, if you really do have something a little different to offer.

In short, if you are respectfully clothed in some market advantage, focus on your demonstrable strengths and you could come out of all this with a much healthier and valuable business.

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