Positioning Strategy Decision


The challenge facing a manager is deciding  which positioning strategy is most appropriate in a given situation. The choice of a strategy is made easier when the following three questions are considered. First, who are the likely competitors, what positions have they staked out in the marketplace, and how strong are they? Second, what are the preferences of the target consumers sought and how do these consumers perceive the offerings of competitors? Finally, what position, if any, do we already have in the target consumer’s mind? Once answered, attention can then be focused on a series of implementation questions:

  • What position do we want to own?
  • What competitors must be outperformed if we are to establish the position?
  • Do we have the marketing resources to occupy and hold the position?

The success of positioning strategy depends on a number of factors. First, the position selected must be clearly communicated to target customers. Second, as the development of a position is a lengthy and often expensive process, frequent positioning changes should be avoided. Finally, and perhaps most impotant, the position taken  in the marketplace should be sustainable and profitable.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

Retail Trends & Strategies


  • Better market positioning: This involves more careful identification of market segments and providing service superior to that of competition.
  • Market intensification: This involves clustering more stores in the same metropolitan area and contiguous markets.
  • Secondary markets: Expansion will be increasingly focused on secondary markets  of under 100,000 population because there may be less competition from larger retailers, and costs, such as wages, may be lower.
  • Differences in store size: Retailers will have a more flexible portfolio of different sized stores depending on the size of the community and existing retail competition. More use of second-hand space will occur because this can result in savings of 30 percent or more in rent.
  • Productivity increases: The application of central checkout, self-selection, and low gross margins to areas of trade where these techniques have not been used before will occur. Look now at toy supermarkets, home-decorating centers, and self-service shoe stores.
  • Fewer product options: Product lines will increasingly be consolidated, and new product development will be cut back.
  • Service growth: Services retailing will continue to grow as a percentage of total retail sales. Services already represent about 50 percent of the gross national product.
  • More mergers: Increasingly, smaller and weaker firms will be absorbed as more retail outlets struggle to survive.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

Basic Thinking Patterns


Teamwork can be managed into existence by teaching people to use consciously and cooperatively four basic  patterns of thinking they already use unconsciously and individually. These four basic patterns of thinking are reflected in the four kinds of questions managers ask every day:

  1. What’s going on? It begs for clarification. It asks for a sorting out, a breaking down, a key to the map of current events, a means of achieving and maintaining control. It reflects the pattern of thinking that enables us to impose order where all had been disorder, uncertainty, or confusion. It enables us to establish priorities and decide when and how to take actions that make good sense and produce good results.
  2. Why did this happen? This indicates the need for cause and effect thinking. It is the pattern that enables us to move from observing the effect of a problem to understanding the cause so that we can take appropriate actions to correct the problem or lessen its effects.
  3. Which course of action should we take? This implies that some choice must be made. This basic pattern of thinking enables us to decide on the course of action most likely to accomplish a particular goal.
  4. What lies ahead? This pattern looks into the future. This is used for thinking when we attempt to assess the problem that might happen, the decision that might be necessary next month, next year, or in five years.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

Why People Resist Change?


  1. Loss of Control: When people feel on top of things, change threatens them with losing control of their personal area of control or influence.
  2. Uncertainty: Predictability is contributing to many people. Change brings uncertainty, which some people find threatening.
  3. Surprise: We like new things but hate surprises. Sudden change is very unsettling to most of us.
  4. Habits: We love our habits. They are efficient and don’t require thought. Establishing new behavior patterns is difficult.
  5. Familiarity: The more we know things, the better we like them. (that’s why companies spend a lot on advertising) The unfamiliar is disturbing.
  6. Work: New things usually mean more work (at least at the beginning).
  7. Competence: People know that they can do what they already do. Change means they will have to master new skills, and they don’t know if they will be able to do it
  8. Ripples: People fear that change in one thing will lead to change in others.
  9. Adjustment: People are afraid it will take them a long time to adjust to any change.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

 

Vertical Integration Strategies


Vertical integration extends a firm’s competitive scope within the same industry. It involves expanding the firm’s range of activities backward into sources of supply and/or forward toward end users of the final product. Thus, if a manufacturer invests in facilities to produce certain component parts rather n than purchase them from outside suppliers, it remains in essentially the same industry as before. The only change is that it has business units in two production stages in the industry’s value chain system. Similarly, if a paint manufacturer elects to integrate forward by opening 100 retail stores to market its products directly to consumers, it remains in the paint business even though its competitive scope extends further forward in the industry chain.

Vertical integration strategies can aim at full integration (participating in all stages of the industry value chain) or partial integration (building positions in just some stages of the industry’s total value chain). A firm can accomplish vertical integration by starting its own operations in other stages in the industry’s activity chain or by starting a company already performing the activities it wants to bring in-house.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

 

Franchises


A franchise is a contract arrangement by which the owner of a trade name, trademark, copyright, or process grants permission to others to use this property in selling goods or services under specified conditions.

The purchaser of a franchise (franchisee) obtains the advantage of offering a well-known or unusual product that may already have wide appeal. The franchisee  also receives the benefit of mass buying and advertising. Typically, the buyer of a franchise may pay a flat fee for the franchise as well as an additional percentage based on sales. The franchisee may also be required to pay a fractional share of the franchisor’s promotional costs and to purchase certain supplies from the franchisor.

Contract and sales laws pertaining to franchises are comparatively new. If the franchise involves the resale of goods or food, both the franchisor and franchisee will usually be liable under a breach of warranty if the food or other merchandize is not wholesome or proper from the consumer’s standpoint. However, tort liability to a third person is usually the responsibility of the franchisee alone. In a case where the franchisee’s truck struck  and negligently injured a pedestrian , the franchisor would normally have no responsibility.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

 

The Most Important Personal Asset


Obviously the real answer is common sense. But if you don’t have it already, you probably never will, and there’s nothing I can say here that’s going to change that.

Common sense aside, then, the most important asset in business is a sense of humor, an ability to laugh at yourself or the situation.

Laughter is the most potent, constructive force for diffusing business tension, and you want to be the one who controls it. If you can point out what is humorous or absurd about a situation or confrontation, can diffuse the tension by getting the other party to share your feeling, you will be guaranteed the upper hand. There are very few absolutes in business. This is one of them, and it will never fail.

A sense of humor creates one of the most favorable long-term impressions. A single humorous, self-effacing comment can immediately let someone know that you don’t take yourself too seriously, and that is the sort of thing that people remember.

It is also the best way to start a meeting. You don’t need to have them rolling in the aisles, but a mildly pleasant remark at the outset will create the right atmosphere for everything that follows. Humor is what brings back perspective, which, next to profits, is the easiest thing to lose in business.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

Market Survey


Stated most simply, the objective of a market survey is to determine a reasonably attainable sales volume in a specific market area for a specific type of business. This means finding out how many potential consumers of the planned merchandise or service there are in this market and how many of them can reasonably be expected to become customers of the firm under consideration.

The thoroughness of a market survey will vary under different conditions. The survey is essential for stores that plan to develop much of their own customer traffic. If sales are to depend on the firm’s merchandising policies, sales promotion efforts, special services, or uniqueness, a particularly thorough market survey should be made in advance. Firms that plan to rely on the established customer flow already generated by other businesses in the area may follow less thorough procedures. The latter types of firms have often been described as “parasite stores,” meaning that their location has been dictated by the existing firms in the area that have attracted a substantial traffic flow and which the new firm will tap for its own sales. Examples of small firms in this category are a restaurant in a skyscraper lobby, a medium-priced dress shop next to a large department store, an office-building tobacco shop, or a drugstore in an airline terminal. In these cases, the amount and nature of the traffic and its sales potential are pretty well established. Such firms may still, however, exert various types of sales promotion activities to increase total income within the traffic.

The chief concern here is with the types of firms that may rely heavily on a market survey to help them build much of their customer traffic.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

Learning by Objectives


Companies in high-tech businesses have evolved a variant of management by objectives as the vehicle for involving technical, professional, and managerial employees in the analysis of their own training and development needs. Usually, as part of a formal MBO system, manager and employee sit down together and negotiate a written agreement on the technical and professional training the subordinate will undertake in the coming six months or a year. At the end of the period they review the outcome and decide what further training is called for. Both of them understand that the subordinate’s career will be shaped by these decisions.

Trainees’ involvement in needs analysis reduces wasted effort by eliminating the teaching of what is already known, by getting quickly to questions that engage the trainees, and by affording them a chance to ask questions that help them acquire skills.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

Planning for Uncertainty


Uncertainty has become so great as to render futile, if not counterproductive, the kind of planning most companies still practice: forecasting based on probabilities.

Unique events have no probability. Yet executives have to make decisions that commit to the future current resources of time and money. Worse, they have to make decisions not to commit resources—to forgo the future. The lengths of such commitments are steadily growing: in strategy and technology, marketing, manufacturing, employee development, in the time it takes to bring a new plant on steam or in the years until a commitment to a store location pays for itself. Every such commitment is based on assumptions about the future. To arrive at them, traditional planning asks, “what is most likely to happen?” Planning for uncertainty asks instead, “What has already happened that will create the future?”

The first place to look is in demographics. There have been two revolutionary changes in the workforce of developed countries: the explosion of advanced education and the rush of women into careers outside the home. Both are accomplished facts. The shift from blue-collar labor to knowledge and service workers as the centers of population gravity is irrevocable. But so is the aging of both the workforce and population.

Business people need to ask: “What do these accomplished facts mean for our business? What opportunities do they create? What threats? What changes do they demand in the ways the business is organized and run, in our goals, in our products, in our services, in our policies? And what changes do they make possible and likely to be advantageous?”

The next question is: “What changes in industry and market structure, in basic values (e.g., the emphasis on the environment), and in science and technology have already occurred but have yet to have full impact?” It is commonly believed that innovations create changes—but very few do. Successful innovations exploit changes that have already happened. They exploit the time lag—in science, often twenty-five or thirty years—between the change itself and its perception and acceptance. During that time the exploiter of the change rarely faces much, if any, competition. The other people in the industry still operate on the basis of yesterday’s reality. And once such a change has happened, it usually survives even extreme turbulence.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

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