Staying On Course?
By: Bruce S. Berton

  

Consultants Corner News Consulting Manufacturing Clothing

 

It is the beginning of a new year, and I would like to go BACK to BASICS.

A good coach of any professional team sport will tell you that no matter how good the individual players might be, "You must be a TEAM to be a WINNER." Therefore, the basics of team play are consistently repeated, repeated, and repeated! Then it is up to the coach (in business it is the CEO) to modify the basics in order to overcome the many challenges and to maintain a profitable, forward moving business team. This takes strategy, unselfish effort, leadership, inspiration, and accepting the responsibility of pulling all parts of the team together.

The "I, We, You" Theory is not the way to succeed as the coach of the team.

I = If everything is going well, the coach takes 100% of the credit.

We = If the team is performing above expectations but is not a winner, the coach says,
We are going to have to work harder.

You = If plans are not being met and performance is below average, then the Coach says,
You, the team, are the reason for lack of success.

Therefore, I think the following article is right on course!

Recent headlines have been daunting:  safeguard quotas, the signing of CAFTA, the EU adding restrictive tariffs on U.S. products, China floating its currency by a "basket" method, oil prices rising at the pump, a housing price bubble, the Iraq war, terrorist threats, outsourcing of jobs, etc. No, the "sky is not falling"; that is another article. However, I think it is time to revisit the basics of good solid business planning.

When was the last time you looked at your business plan?

Maybe I should ask the question, Do you have a formal business plan?

Has your executive structure changed?

Is the purpose of your mission statement intact?

Are your key business concepts still attainable?

Has your market analysis been updated for:


     
Demographic & operating variables?


     
Purchasing & sourcing approaches?


     
Situational factors & personal characteristics?

What new Industry Analysis has been discussed lately?

Who is the new competition?

What degree of product change is required to maintain viability in the marketplace?

SWOT Analysis

When did you last review your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats?

Have you reviewed your marketing plan?

Have you revisited the buying behavior of customers and consumers?

Do you see the changes in the stages of the buying decision process?

Has your product life cycle concept changed?

Did you revisit the marketing mix, variables and strategy necessary to show and sell product?

Will it be necessary to re-evaluate distribution channels and alternatives?

Do you have an operational plan that includes an organizational matrix of authority?

Does your management team cover the key elements of marketing and sales, operations, research and development, engineering, financial management, general management and administration, personnel management, and legal, tax and advisory services?

All of the above may seem mind boggling, but for you and your business to Stay On Course in these difficult times, you
d better cover all of the above and a lot more!

We are now living in a constantly changing business climate, and you who are responsible for corporate commitments and the bottom line, must have all of the facts to eliminate as much risk as possible.

Whether you are in a local market, or into national or global distribution, every world variable will have some affect on your business.

It will be the priorities you set, the execution of your plans, timely decision making, and consistent monitoring of your business that will allow you to Stay On Course.

Listen to your customers
needs.  Listen to what the consumer is saying.  Listen to your management team.  Listen to the people who are able
to see the forest through the trees
.  Then you can make a decision.

Take a look at our generals and admirals, who gather as much information as possible, then build the infrastructure necessary to be superior to the enemy (in your case, the competition).

As I have stated in many previous articles:   Today you must deliver three things consistently:      


     
PRICE


     
QUALITY


     
ON-TIME DELIVERY

The professionals at Stonefield Josephson have over 100 years of experience in the textile/apparel industry helping clients to Stay On Course.


Bruce S. Berton is a business and management consultant with Stonefield Josephson, Inc., a leading regional consulting and accounting firm with offices in Santa Monica, San Francisco, Walnut Creek and Mexico City. The information in this column is of a general nature.  Readers inquiries are welcome; and may be sent to Bruce Berton, at Stonefield Josephson, Inc., 2049 Century Park East Suite 400 Los Angeles, California 90067 310-432-7437 Direct
866-225-4511 Toll Free
310-432-7519 Fax Los Angeles
Orange County
San Francisco
East Bay Silicon Valley
Hong Kong, or send an e-mail to: 
[email protected]

 

 

 

   
 


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