Middle-market companies tread a treacherous path. Improvement is imperative to growth and success, but how do you improve? A Newport Board Group partner recently quipped:
It’s hard to review any news report today and not find references to “disruption” or “new age of…” or “transformation”. Reports of those who were on the wrong side of change are all too common, while those seemingly few on the right side of change gather fortunes in no time at all. It’s enough to make you wonder if the concept of “business as usual” is a relic of the past. Perhaps it is. Many business owners and leaders struggle with this question every day. While these issues are real for all types of business, middle-market businesses are especially vulnerable to rapid changes in the business environment. The good news is that help is available – regardless of the size of your business. Today we will take a look at how your business can prepare for the future, and not be trapped by business as usual, through a 5-point review of your business. These five points are the result of the experience that I, and others at Newport Board Group, have gained in our efforts to help middle-market businesses adapt to, and thrive in, an ever-changing environment.
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We’ve all heard it – an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The problem, of course, is that this saying, like so many other good bits of advice, is easier said than done. It turns out that running a successful business is hard. If fact, unless luck is the driving force behind your business, running a successful business is often all-consuming. You learn to prioritize activities and resources. You are likely head-down with a clear focus on what needs to happen to get through the day, or the week, etc. Over time you are likely to focus more on those issues that are within your control or are more satisfying. While these are good coping strategies, they leave you exposed to real risks.
A quick review of recent news headlines reveals a business environment with clear challenges and hidden opportunities. In the industry in which I have spent much of my career, energy, commodity prices have fallen precipitously, especially oil prices. On the wider scene, international growth is slowing; political uncertainty exists in many places including Latin America, Europe, and the Middle East; and the United States is in the middle of a presidential election campaign that is peculiar and unsettling.