Business Trends for 2010
Pundits and execs are burning up the airwaves with observations about 2009 and projections for 2010. There are endless trends... charts that show the ups and downs of economic cycles.
But in the green economy, those economic line charts aren't the only charts that matter. There are also charts such as scarcity of key materials for your manufacturing; charts of global climate change events, increasing compliance regulations, risk management costs... and environmental health rates.
Other key metrics measure environmental systems and our efforts to stabilize a functional global ecosystem.
The need for risk reduction can be a counter-intuitive opportunity for green companies.
The emphasis on traditional healthcare can open up discussions about environmental health and stress-reducing options.
Small and Stealth Niche PlayersBut let's assume that you have pulled together all those environment-specific charts...and are ready to dig into some strategic and tactical planning for the year 2010. Where do you start?
If you're a small, niche player...can you add stealth to your strategy. The stealth of an owl? The stealth of a porpoise or shark?
Stealth is about mastery of the basics. No fancy stuff -- but exceptionally well planned and executed basic performance.
Keeping your marketing strategy quiet until you sneak around the competition can be a good strategy for small, innovative companies.
NDAs are important. Non Disclosure Agreements should be an established tool in your business toolbox.
Partnering is another of the stealth tools. When porpoises get serious about feeding, they team up and execute a highly effective tactical "herding" campaign. How could you learn to do something like that? Who would you need to team up with to find the best prospects, and serve them up on a platter.
(I can't believe I said that!)
Competition for resources is a time honored part of natural selection and ecosystem function. And it is in business, too. My hope is that we have also learned that a healthy ecosystem is about communal-, tribal- and community-wide health and vitality. Sharing the wealth is good, as our mothers taught us!
Multi-Dimensional, Global PlayersGreen is a global challenge. The US has advantages in the excellence we find in our university systems. That research system produces some of the best innovation in the world.
How can you tap into that innovation flow with masterful commercialization?
One of the green companies that has intrigued me since the days I lived in North Carolina is Cree one of the leaders in LED chips, components and lighting. They mastered innovation. Now they are mastering global, multi-dimensional play by establishing their own factory in China. That's been a long time building -- but certainly an example of how a small, green niche company grew up into a global player.
Knowing your size matters. The folksey "Ten Percent Rule" applies. It's hard for a person or company to bet more than 10% of their resources on a risky new endeavor. Leverage.
Over-leveraging is what caused the Wall Street meltdown. And now, banks are deleveraging from about 40% down to about 20%...and small businesses are feeling the squeeze. That financial constipation will probably continue for awhile, so sizing your new product launches and your sales territory reach might be very aware of the amount of leverage you already have baked into your strategy ... and how much additional risk you can manage.
Sometimes hiding under a great big rock for a little bit while the frenzy goes on around you can be a very natural survival strategy! That might be part of the timescape in 2010!
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