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What now? Taking a 360-degree approach to your business’ future

What now? Taking a 360-degree approach to your business’ future

4 Minute Read

It may be tempting to focus on the immediate changes you can make to your business to preserve your bottom line in an uncertain economy. However, investing in a 360-degree approach to the future can increase your profitability and enable you to remain competitive in an uncertain marketplace. A 360-degree approach includes:

  •  Internal factors such as organizational data and levers
  • External influences such as your competitors, the current and potential state of the marketplace, and evolving customer demographics

Combining internal and external influences into a comprehensive plan will enable your business to adapt to challenges and achieve success.

Partner - Financial Services Institutions Leader

Your business may be focused on reacting to shifts in the current economic environment — including rising interest rates, high inflation, and a decrease in customer demand. While it’s tempting to focus on the immediate changes you can make to preserve your bottom line, it is equally important to create a comprehensive plan to ensure your long-term success.

Many business owners look outward at the market or inward at the internal operations of the organization when developing a plan for the future. However, this approach is limiting and does not fully account for all the factors that may have an impact on your business.

A 360-degree approach will provide you with a thorough understanding of the internal and external factors influencing the future of your business. By analyzing both the current position of your organization and anticipating potential changes such as evolving demographic needs or regulatory changes to your industry, it enables you to make informed decisions to increase profitability secure your future.

Still, adopting a 360-degree approach is complex and it can be difficult to know where to begin. We’ve summarized the following internal and external factors influencing your business to help you get started on developing a comprehensive plan for its future.

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Internal influences

The internal operations of your business play a key role in its future success. Focusing on these two areas can help to identify opportunities and risks as you chart your course forward:

Access the right data

You need data to make informed decisions for the future. This may be held within systems such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) platforms, customer relationship management (CRM) systems, or by key information holders within your organization.

Identify who has access to the data you need and determine if there are any silos within your business where it may be hidden. Silos can include individual key holders with sole access to data, or departmental and geographic constraints.

Work to break down silos and integrate data across your entire organization. This will help you understand the processes and activities that contribute to your profitability, enable management to make adjustments and monitor outcomes, and support data-driven decisions to ensure your future success.

Pull on the right levers

Manipulating levers such as cost, innovation, and talent can help your business achieve its desired outcomes. For example, you may consider implementing changes to control costs, introducing a CRM system to increase customer acquisition and retention, or investing more in the research and development of new products to remain competitive in your industry. These are just a few of the ways you can use levers to drive value in your organization.

Assess the levers within your business to identify how each is currently operating — and the adjustments you can make to generate successful outcomes in the future.

External influences

The current and future state of the marketplace will also have a significant impact on your business. Evaluate these three key external areas as you develop a plan to achieve success:

Changes in the marketplace

It is essential to understand the position of your business in the marketplace — both now and in the future. For example, if your business operates in a regulated industry, you need to understand what the regulatory environment is like today and how it may evolve in the future.

Consider a company in the real estate and construction industry. The Canadian government has committed to reducing harmful greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2030, which may have a considerable impact on how the business constructs residential and commercial properties.

This business may consider switching to approved materials, equipment, or fuel before new legislation to reduce GHG emissions takes effect to continue operating smoothly. Additionally, the business might also consider purchasing more approved materials now to offset potential shortages as demand increases in the future.

Likewise, your business must monitor current and emerging trends to address risks, seize new opportunities, and achieve successful outcomes.

Evolving customer demographics

The future of your business depends not only on understanding who your customers are today — but also who they may be tomorrow. It is essential to understand their evolving needs and adjust your products and services accordingly to meet new demands and remain competitive.

Imagine a company in the tuxedo rental business. It may only offer rentals for weddings — however, statistics show that fewer people are getting married, and many are marrying later, which is a potentially existential problem for the business.

Recognizing that the business must adjust its customer demographic to remain profitable, it may expand its rental services to include youth celebrating graduation from high school or university to increase its market share with the younger generation. This also increases the likelihood that this new customer demographic will become returning customers when they get married, therefore improving its profitability.

Competitor activities

Your competitors are another factor that may influence the future of your business. Track the activities of your competition and evaluate their strengths and weaknesses to identify potential opportunities for your own business. Implement tools such as a threats, opportunities, weaknesses, strengths (TOWS) analysis to help you gain an understanding of both your competition and your own position in the marketplace.

Consider adjusting your product offerings to capture a different market share if your competition releases a cutting-edge new product. Your business may also explore increasing its investments into research and development to improve your existing products and remain competitive.

Putting it all together into a 360-degree view

It is essential to develop a thorough understanding of both the data and levers within your business as well as external influences such as market trends, customer demographics, and competitor activities. This will enable you to predict future shifts and take the right steps to seize opportunities and reduce risks.

As you begin to create your own 360-degree plan, it is important to remember that external forces may have an impact on the internal operations of your business. Likewise, your internal operations may impact how you react to external changes in the marketplace. You may need to collect new data if you expand to a different customer demographic to determine if your efforts are successful. Additionally, if a competitor releases a suite of new products, you may increase your investments in research and development to release your own new offerings.

Combining your internal and external views together to create a 360-degree perspective of your business will help you achieve long-term success. A comprehensive approach to planning will help you anticipate shifts both within the marketplace and your business, make informed decisions to increase profitability, and secure the future of your organization.

Contact us

To learn more, contact: 

Steven Luckie, Partner – Financial Services Institutions Leader
[email protected]


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