Competitive Forces


Competitive strategy has become an area of specialty among management researchers and consultants. These specialists find that the competition within an industry is constrained by an underlying structure consisting of five powerful driving forces:

a)    Rivalry among existing firms in the industry

b)   The threat of new firms entering the industry

c)    The bargaining power of suppliers to the industry

d)   The bargaining power of the buyers from the industry

e)    The threat of substitute products or services

The underlying forces determine the profit margins that are characteristic of the industry. They limit the prospects for greater than normal profit margins. They influence the intensity of the competition and the long-term probable outcome of the competition. To entrepreneurs who are not familiar with these forces represent fate.

We often attribute the success of an entrepreneurial venture to its entrepreneur. We shouldn’t detract from the importance of the leader in a new venture, but it is very important to recognize that there are other forces that contribute to the success. A super individual with a good product entering an industry with an adverse underlying structure may have little success. A lessor individual entering an industry with a more favorable structure may succeed despite mistakes and misjudgments.

There may be many factors that influence a business firm’s performance in the short term. These factors are transient such as economic conditions, material shortages or strikes. In the long term, however, the five underlying structural forces determine the potential returns achievable by the industry. The various firms competing within an industry are thereby limited in their potential profit margins and returns on investment.

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

Cognition in managerial context


The word ‘cognition’ means the ‘act or faculty of knowing.’ Cognition also signifies awareness, comprehension, discernment, insight, intelligence, perception, reasoning and understanding. In change management, cognition implies knowing when to launch change in an organization. This act of knowing is based on the collection and interpretation of data from outside. In other words, the way in which a manager collects and interprets information about the world outside the organization shapes his/her knowledge about change.

 

Specially, managerial cognition in the context of change is the recognition and interpretation of signals from an organization’s environment that denote impending shifts in the environment. If a manager recognizes and interprets the signals accurately, he/she is unlikely to commit this or that errors. On the other hand, both type of errors are more likely when recognition and interpretation are flawed. Then the key question is: what leads to flawed recognition and interpretation of environmental signals? If cognition is the recognition and interpretation of the world outside, what leads to faulty cognition on the part of managers?

 

Although this seems like a simple question, the answer is quite complicated. There are a number of factors that can cause flawed cognition, which can be broadly classified in two categories: (i) organizational factors that can lead to defective cognition and (ii) personal or human factors thaty can cause errors in cognition.

 

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 contact www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

Opportunities in the Developing World


Examination of opportunities in developing countries is appropriate for two reasons. First, more and more developing countries are pursuing the growth path. The developing world is beginning to rely on the market mechanism to attract investment and technology and become industrialized. Second, government plays a significant role in business decisions. The bureaucrats approach foreign investment with much less sophistication and confidence than to private sector executives.

 

These characteristics suggest that in analyzing opportunities in the developing countries, a company should be willing to lay more emphasis on long-term potential than on short-term gains. In addition, adequate treatment should be given to political and social variables. Further, business condition vary so much from one country to the other that a comparative (i.e., multi-country) analysis may be difficult. Availability of reliable and timely information makes the opportunity analysis more difficult in developing countries. Thus, there is no way to systematically evaluate such factors as sociopolitical conditions. Instead, a general feel for the situation is necessary, for which a trusted native could be of immense help.

 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 contact www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

Niche and Technology


Within each industry, each organization tries in some way to find a niche that distinguishes it from its composition. It may do this in the products or services it offers (price, quantity, quality, location, convenience, service, etc.) or in the way it offers them. Noting the ways in which an organization attempts to distinguish itself is useful, both for understanding its place in its environment (and predicting its chances of survival and prosperity) and for understanding the impact these differences may have on the people, things, activities, and space within the organization.

Technology, to a large extent, can be related to the industry a company chooses to enter. Technology means the knowledge, skill, and things required to accomplish specific kinds of work. The technology required in a bank differs greatly from that required in a grocery store, or a chemical plant, or an insurance company. Many internal factors are influenced significantly by the technological requirements of the organization. Consider the impact on the people hired, the things and space required, and their cost, as well as the work to be done and how it is divided.

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 contact www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

Handling Failure Factors


Herebelow are some useful techniques for handling failure factors while building your business:

1) Square peg, round hole: the most important thing to remember is, don’t try to make something fit if it doesn’t. You may have a high level of expertise in the traditional paradigm, and many of those skills will serve you well in marketing. But be aware that others won’t. When you find a skill or technique just isn’t working in the new paradigm, don’t blame marketing—discard the technique. Also, be open to learning new ideas and skills that were designed with marketing in mind.

2) Don’t re-invent the wheel: After decades, the patterns for successful behavior in marketing are fairly established. It’s human nature to want to add our own flair to everything, but make sure you learn the basics first. Some people in past decades tried some ideas but they didn’t turn to be effective as they hoped. Don’t re-invent the wheel.

3) Work the plan, not the angles: Perhaps the most important general rule for avoiding unexpected failure factors is to focus on the simple business building system and stay away from sidelines and ‘new’ angles. You came to marketing to build a business, not to get bogged down in side ventures and alternative schemes. Indeed, it’s tempting to look for alternative ‘revenue streams,’ but the time you spend chasing these things would be much better spent invested in your core business. Once you’ve made a commitment to building a marketing business, that commitment should be total. Any side activity has the potential to draw away your focus—and your growing business can suffer.

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 contact www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight