Now is the time to strengthen market position Featured

7:01pm EDT January 31, 2012
Kelly Borth, CEO and chief strategy officer, Greencrest Kelly Borth, CEO and chief strategy officer, Greencrest

Have you been in “protect mode” ? a little cautious about taking chances with your business? Have you been waiting for sure signs that it’s time to invest in your company’s future?

Then you are the company leader economist Brian Beaulieu of the Institute for Trend Research wants to reach. At a recent Vistage All City meeting in Columbus, he encouraged those in the room to get out of “protect mode” and start taking risks and acting like entrepreneurs again by upping their game and being aggressive while market conditions are favorable for doing so.

Beaulieu says business leaders have the next 14 months to strengthen their company’s market position during this current period of economic recovery ? leading indicators show the potential for a milder recession late in 2013 and early 2014, followed by three years of economic growth.

He addressed about 150 CEOs of midsized companies and challenged them to be smarter than the curve. His message that now is the right time stemmed from signs of a recovering economy, low interest rates and the fact that banks are lending again, among others.

Beaulieu’s suggestion that by the time 2015 rolls around and the economy moves into a three-year growth spurt, being ahead of the curve will put your business in a great market position to maximize business growth. It makes sense, and here are his tips on how to get started.

What businesses should do in a recovering economy

Getting out of protect mode in a sense means leaving your comfort zone. Beaulieu challenged the CEOs in the room to do that, to sell boldly where they have never sold before, to determine where they need to be so they can capture market share and identify new markets that they can create.

But it’s not as daunting as it seems, if you consider his company’s Phase Management Objectives for “late recovery” and “early growth” recessionary phases. His list was rather extensive, but here are some that caught my attention from a marketing perspective:

1. Establish tactical goals which lead to strategic achievement. 2. Review and uncover competitive advantages. 3. Invest in customer market research to understand what customers value. 4. Add sales staff. 5. Begin advertising and sales promotions. 6. Increase prices. 7. Find the answer to “What’s next?” 8. Open distribution centers. 9. Use cash to create new competitive advantages.

Time to plan for growth

Now that you have a list of potential steps to take, you should feel a lift in your own spirit and an eagerness to return to your entrepreneurial roots. I know I did. What I took away was that the next few months are not about being passive — they are about being aggressive, pioneering new territory and taking risks. The next 14 months are critical to business growth and success. If we don’t position our companies to excel during the 2015 through 2017 growth years, our businesses may not survive the next recession which is sure to come.

Now is the time to plan for growth and invest in our businesses future. It is time to kick in our entrepreneurial passion, which for some of us means removing our Band-Aids, clearing the dust from our eyes and emerging from the day-to-day minutiae so we can refocus and find renewed energy.

Clear the path for enthusiasm

We need to clear the way for strategic, visionary, innovative work — the stuff CEOs love to do. In Beaulieu’s words, it is time to stop focusing on all the recessionary chatter that zaps our enthusiasm. It’s time to get back to leading our companies toward the future.

Whatever you do, don’t wait. Now is the time to shore up your game to position your business to maximize its potential for growth in 2015 and the two following years. Even though 2015 may seem like a long way off, in reality, it is not.

Positioning our companies for growth is really about the action we take in the next 14 months as the current economy is in recovery. So invest the time and resources needed to make the most of these next few months. The time is now.

Kelly Borth is CEO and chief strategy officer for Greencrest, a 21-year-old brand development, strategic marketing and digital media firm that turns market players into market leaders. Borth has received numerous honors for her business and community leadership. She serves on several local advisory boards and is one of 25 certified brand strategists in the United States. Reach her at (614) 885-7921 or kborth@greencrest.com or for more information, visit www.greencrest.com.