Play like Amazon: How strategic management can help you grow your SME
Asking businesses today to think long-term is usually just too much. They are focused on surviving, fighting the competition, and sometimes, just paying the bills.
This is true, especially when talking about SMEs: businesses have to concentrate on short-term achievements to endure, which relegates strategic planning for the future to wishful thinking.
In the long run, we are all dead, a wise man said once.
However, does it have to be this way? Amazon is a marvellous example of a company that never ran away from strategic thinking and management. You can see where that led them. The tech mammoth usually invests in young, promising companies that may pay off in the future. For example, its Pro-Rata Program announced in March it would fund startups and venture capitalists.
The Pro-Rata initially launched a decade ago and counts Lyft and Slack among its successes.
It’s pretty much what sports teams do: they sign a ton of promising prospects for small bucks. Many of them won’t pan out, but they only need to catch lightning in a bottle with a couple of them to see a return on their investment.
So, how small businesses can learn from Amazon’s long-term strategic thought? Here are a few ideas.
You want to get ahead? Then look ahead
One of the fundamental rules of marketing is to reach first in the market. Yes, strategic leadership is hard to endure, but it’s rewarding in the long run. Otherwise, your business is doomed to remain in the water-to-the-neck stage.
A strategic mindset gives a ton of pressure because you’re countering actual gains against potential future benefits. But strategic leaders see future opportunities and threats, which leads them to ensure better future sustainability and profitability, especially in an ever-evolving business environment.
Human capital all the way
If you want to get ahead, who’s going to get you there? Your people. Invest in them; you’ll see the returns. If you want your team to get on board with your strategy, you need to give them the resources, trust, and knowledge to help you achieve it. It’s not your vision but YOUR vision of your whole team.
Companies that invest in their human capital see their long-term success grow exponentially. Do it. It’s completely worth it.
Know your customers
Customer-based marketing is not new, but its importance cannot be stretched enough. Some time ago, E-Consultancy made a survey asking business leaders what’s the top “digital native culture” builder. 58 % of them said customer-centricity.
Who are you selling to and who you want to sell to? What’s your market today, and what’s your target tomorrow? That’s critical questions you have to ask yourself.
Treat your customers as an extension of your human capital: never sell them something you wouldn’t sell or do internally. They will see the importance of a long-term investment in your company, instead of casual consumption. Fidelity is key, especially for SMEs
If you commit to strategic management and planning, you can give new life to your client relationships and your team. Show clients you mean to become a mainstay of your market and invest heavily in your people. Show them you think ahead, that you don’t aim to survive but to strive. You’ll see the results sooner than later.