Forging Ahead Despite a Weak Eocnomy
Warren Buffett once said, “Be fearful when others are greedy, and be greedy when others are fearful.” Despite the fact that economic uncertainty remains, companies need not wait until the recession completely runs its course before getting back to growth activities. Now is the perfect time for companies to focus on growth plans.
Profitable, sustainable growth starts when you have a deeper understanding of customers’ needs than your competitors have. Consider this: The average hit rate for products under development is 1 in 4, which means too many companies are not using the right techniques to unearth true customer wants and needs. But no one can afford to introduce failed products these days. Rather than developing products that interest themselves, companies need to focus on their customers’ wants and needs.
Certainly, market research provides one way to better understand what customers want, but how can you do it economically? Conducting customer interviews remotely is actually more effective than one may think, and is much less expensive than interviewing customers in person. There are some benefits to interviewing customers remotely. For example, you can have more people “from your side” in a remote customer interview than is comfortable or practical in a face-to-face one. And if the customer’s key buying influences—manufacturing, technical, marketing, and so forth—are located in different facilities, it’s much easier to have them all “at the meeting.”
The best part about aggressively moving forward with your small-budget growth plans is that your competitors probably won’t be doing the same. So when the economy picks back up, you’ll be ahead of them by leaps and bounds.