Over the past few years I have written several times about how business has changed for all of us. Obviously this is directly related to the economy and all the challenges that it has prompted. However, there is much more to it than just that. There are also fundamental shifts within many industries and markets that have perhaps even more of an effect.
For instance, within the printing industry we have been greatly impacted by the shift in media to a wide variety of digital options. And while we are still looking to see how this might all shake out, there is no debate as to the fact that we have to change our strategies and adapt to new methods of communicating. Fortunately we have a good amount of experience in working within digital media, so it is more of a shift in emphasis as opposed to learning something entirely new.
For other markets it is the same story, and this was reinforced to me at a recent meeting with a client. We were engaged in the initial planning session in advance of a re-branding campaign for this non-profit organization. Prior to this session we had distributed surveys to their staff and board members which had given us a good insight as to some of the challenges they faced. Then, within the session that included key leadership and board members, we identified some of the profound shifts within their market.
What I found most interesting was that even though we are in two entirely different businesses, some of the challenges were virtually the same – such as:
- The need to evaluate what products or services will be the focus for us in the future.
- How to communicate this with our staff – and then to align the right people and to re-educate/train those individuals.
- How to communicate this clearly with our clients, and/or where to find new ones.
- Then the need to re-evaluate our progress after a given period.
I would suspect that if you take a look at your own business, this would be the case as well. It used to be that this kind of discussion was done perhaps every 7-10 years. Now though we all need to be open to this type of planning almost every year – or at least to do the re-evaluation process.
For sure, not all organizations will have the drive or feel the urgency to do this. They will likely be those that believe once the economy improves they will also recover. Unfortunately, many will not make it through. For the rest of us, it is time to get our game face on!