Cheat Sheet

Competitive Strategy For Dummies (UK Edition)

From Competitive Strategy For Dummies by Richard Pettinger

Assessing the competitive environment, establishing a competitive position and developing a strategy are key to being able to identify and take advantage of business opportunities that arise. Having a good understanding of competitive strategy enables you to stay one step ahead of the competition, and this Cheat Sheet gives you some essential tips.

10 Essential Rules for Managing Risk

Risk is a big part of corporate strategy. The scarcity of resources, technology and expertise and the costs of finance, energy and transport mean that your organisation must have risk awareness.

You need a strategic approach to risk in order to ensure that you’re aware of what can go wrong, that you understand why something went wrong and that you have steps you can take to deal with problems. Being prepared can prevent risk-related problems from happening in the first place. Check out the following essential rules for managing risk.

  • Make sure that you know everything that can possibly go wrong in your organisation – and make sure that everyone else knows too.

  • Concentrate on setting standards as high as possible.

  • Ensure that you always follow up on breaches of security.

  • Keep a constant vigil for bullying, victimisation, discrimination and harassment.

  • If money goes missing, always find out why.

  • Ask lots of questions about any new laws and regulations so you can identify all the inherent risks involved.

  • If you’re ever taken to court and lose, decide that you’re going to learn from the mistakes – and then never make them again!

  • Draft and enforce health and safety policies that truly prevent accidents and disasters from happening in the first place.

  • Make sure that you always follow up on staff complaints.

  • Always follow up on customer complaints. You never know how angry a customer actually is or how valid the complaint may be until you examine the situation fully.

8 Ways of Achieving Great Returns on Business-Related Investments

In each stage of deciding, implementing and developing competitive strategy in business, you make investments on which you expect returns. Remember the following important and straightforward tips for ensuring that your investment opportunity is going to deliver the returns that you seek.

  • Always know and understand what you’re investing in, and what returns are available.

  • If you want returns of a particular percentage, you must go into areas in which these returns are available.

  • If you want to work in a particular sector, you must accept the returns on offer.

  • If you’re calculating returns on investment, remember to include everything (staff, technology, premises and equipment as well as money) that you’re investing.

  • Things can change, and you may not get the returns that you seek. As the UK financial services authorities always say, ‘The value of your investment can go down, as well as up.’ It applies to everyone!

  • In many cases, people invest in things they want (rather than need), and then seek the reasons for doing so afterwards – which is always wrong.

  • Check everything in which you’re investing and inspect for risks and flaws.

  • When you go into partnership with anyone, remember that the others have the right to expect returns as well.

9 Strategies for Exerting Your Expertise

Expertise means knowing and understanding everything possible about a particular subject area. Expertise is also a source of power and influence, and in order to ‘get on’ you need to exert yours. Here are nine strategies for doing just that:

  • Your expertise includes having, fostering and developing the right attitudes.

  • Set the standards that you expect from all your staff and enforce them.

  • If you want people to work in particular ways, then train them.

  • If something is wrong, put it right.

  • If you lack particular expertise, go out and find it.

  • Make sure that you always have a fresh flow of expertise and ideas coming into your organisation.

  • When staff and others come to you with new ideas, listen to them and evaluate them.

  • Encourage everyone to continue to learn and develop at all times.

  • Ensure that everyone takes up some part of staff training and development programmes.

8 Secrets of Providing Exceptional Service

The quality and value of the services that you provide are important considerations. To acquire – and retain – customers and clients, you need to provide exceptional service to them. Here is a selection of great ways to do so:

  • Check that you know how quickly, well and completely your organisation is serving customers and clients.

  • Ensure that you have all points of access – including the Internet – open and available when customers need and want to use them.

  • If you have customer complaints, make sure that you find out what happened – and put it right regardless of the answer you discover.

  • Remind your staff that they’re expected to serve customers and clients – fully, pleasantly, positively, expertly and to the best of their ability.

  • Always deliver what you promise.

  • Never make promises that you can’t keep.

  • Remember: a satisfied customer tells nobody of his or her satisfaction; a dissatisfied customer tells everyone.

  • Always look for ways of improving your customer service.

9 Considerations for Going Global with Your Business

For many business leaders, going global is both a driving ambition and a recognition of their excellence at what they do – and the rewards of successfully doing so can be enormous. However, you must be realistic and understand that to be truly global, you need resources, expertise, technology, suppliers and distribution channels that you can command as you need them.

The following pointers give you some initial considerations to ponder if you want to grow your organisation into a global success story.

  • Ask yourself if you’re really global – or do you just have a website?

  • Know why you’re going into particular locations and areas – and make sure that it’s not just for fun or excitement!

  • If you do go into new locations, make sure that you know and understand everything about them so that they’re as familiar to you as your own backyard.

  • Acquire the finance to support everything that you want to do, as well as to underwrite things that can and do go wrong.

  • Ensure that your technology, communication lines, transport and infrastructure networks can support your expansion.

  • Avoid simply chasing riches. A global venture must contribute to the overall development and wellbeing of the new location.

  • Understand that changes in energy, transport and infrastructure costs can make something that once looked attractive, subsequently very expensive.

  • Present a clear view of how you’re going to treat customers, clients and your staff in the new locality.

  • Know and understand what kind of reputation you want in the new locality – and do everything you can to ensure that it comes about.

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