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Four Steps to Create a Strategy in an Uncertain Environment.

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We live in uncertain times, it is obvious. The Covid-19 pandemic and the conflict in Ukraine have all caused unprecedented disruptions over the last few years. And the chaos is not likely to end soon. Companies face many challenges, and it is nearly impossible to plan for their future. This volatile environment demands a new strategy.

Is it worth trying to predict what is unpredictable? Uncertainty can be a source of risk but also opportunity. If handled correctly, uncertainty can allow organizations to expand beyond their existing business and possibly in unexpected directions.

These magic words are “handled correctly.” To transform a world full of uncertainty into one of possibility takes a shift in perspective and a different mindset from business leaders. Companies need a new approach to strategy development. It involves looking beyond what the company can do and imagining what it can do. Then, doing what is necessary to make it possible, even if it means going against established patterns and assumptions.

Strategy Rethink:

  • It is crucial to have a clear customer view when designing a strategy. What do your clients want? Instead of creating endless customer profiles, companies need to consider each client’s wants. This is the “job to do,” as Taddy Hall and Karen Dillon stated.
  • It is equally important to involve the whole organization in strategy development. This is not a task that a single corporate strategy team can do. Companies should instead draw upon the flexibility of an adaptable company to generate ideas and find solutions. It is essential to have the right skills at the right places within an organization. However, interactions between people are more important than individuals.
  • The process of revising and developing strategy should continue. The outcome you desire to achieve is what military strategists refer to as the commander’s intent. After that, the system should be continuously revised and adjusted. The goal of an army context may be to conquer a hill. However, the strategy for reaching that goal is fluid. For example, the process is not to cross the bridge and take the mountain. The bridge may be gone by the time you reach it. Your path to achieving your goal must change to reflect the realities of the ground. In the same way, businesses should not set their goals in advance but define them. Instead, they should draw on the knowledge they have gained along the way and the collective genius of the company.

Companies can thrive in a rapidly changing, fast-paced, and increasingly global marketplace by using this new strategy. Based on my experience in supporting companies, I recommend a four-step approach.

1. Find the big question.

First, you need to ask the right question. This is the question your strategy will attempt to answer. Jerry Porras and Jim Collins talk about big hairy, audacious goals. I enjoy thinking about big fuzzy, bold questions.

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Your business should have a vision that expands its value, and that is the big question. It’s not only permissible but encouraged to dream. Customers’ problems and wishes are a crucial source of inspiration. These desires change all the time. Instead of predicting what customers want, it is better to ask them about their problems and frustrations and then work tirelessly to solve those problems. For new ideas, you can also ask your employees, investors, local governments, communities, and, naturally, your employees.

Sometimes the ideas you are looking for may already exist, but it is possible to dismiss them as too far from current operations. Recently, I led a consulting project with a large international airline. For years, they had known that customer demand was more fluid and volatile than it used to be. Due to the limited flexibility that major airlines have, the industry’s flights are generally scheduled with only two fixed schedules per year. Instead of finding a solution to the problem, such as offering one or two more flight schedules per year, we asked the radical question: “How do we offer flights on demand wherever and whenever a customer wishes to fly?”

On-demand flights were not a new idea. It had been discussed on several occasions previously but was dismissed because it was too far from the company’s core business and existing capabilities. The airline is known for regular flights on fixed schedules, just like any other major airline. Many people knew that on-demand flights could create new value. The question of how to make it happen was too complex, too complicated, and too bold for the current mindset of the airline.

2. Reduce it.

Next, you can break down the strategic question into more minor questions that relate to different aspects of your business or operations. This will allow you to anchor your strategy-devising efforts within the company. This also allows you to draw inspiration from outside of your industry. These brainstorming exercises, such as the one described by Hal Gregersen, can be beneficial. The emphasis here is on asking new questions and not searching for answers.

We ran the big question through various functional teams of the company to find out what they thought. This included crew scheduling, network management, crew scheduling, etc. They often replied to our suggestion of on-demand flights with “No way!” We asked them why. We were surprised to learn that they told us the details of what an airline needed to do to make it possible.

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Do you see the trick? Instead of trying to win teams over, ask them why they don’t believe it is possible. It’s easier for people to answer this question, and often they have other ideas that you didn’t know about. Even better, it’s fun to take an idea everyone believes is absurd and go for it. This is how creativity comes alive.

This exercise resulted in a collection of sub-questions grouped into subject areas. One sub-question that came out of the discussion about on-demand flights was: How can we spot patterns in demand for flights and adjust capacity and prices accordingly? To put it another way, how can the company move the various activities related to yield management — without the which on-demand flight would not be possible from a business perspective — up to the next level.

3. Get creative.

Next, you will need to answer each sub-question. Then you can start brainstorming ideas and strategizing. You no longer need to think about the sub-questions, adjust them or ask questions if they are missing. Instead, you look for strategic ideas. Inspiration can come from both within and outside the organization. Look at top performers in your industry.

This was especially useful when working with an airline. No external examples were available for the strategic question of offering on-demand flight services. This was because none of the competitors provided such a service. We found many instances when we examined the sub-questions. Many young companies were able to forecast customer demand and adjust prices accordingly for other transportation modes, like buses, in yield management. Inspiration also came from different industries. Today’s fashion industry is fast-paced and renews its collections 12 times per year. This contrasts with the regular spring/summer/fall/winter schedules that were once the norm (like those used by the airline industry).

4. Find the best option.

Finally, determine which of the strategic options presented in the previous step is most effective in addressing each sub-question. We recommend that you first decide what success looks like for your process, then compare the new solution to the current one. Once the alternative solution is superior to the current one, you can abandon the old method. This should be done not only once but every time the market changes.

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Your strategy can suffer if you continue to challenge existing solutions. Ask yourself these questions about each step: Does this contribute to our true value proposition?” Are we able to do this? This is the point: You should only do those things that you can answer both questions. You can either outsource or acquire everything else or start your own business.

The sub-question about improving the airline’s yield management was answered by realizing that the company could significantly enhance this area by working closely with a retail travel startup with exceptional capabilities in forecasting demand and anticipating how airlines would respond to pricing and capacity. In reality, the startup was a competitor to the airline in selling airline tickets. Therefore, the best strategic option was to buy a portion of the startup and outsource some of its yield management for on-demand flights. The airline eventually delegated several yield management-related activities and a wide range of exciting developments based upon artificial intelligence (AI) to its new partner.

Take a look at the skies.

Companies often get too focused on their capabilities when developing strategies. They focus too much on what they do well and could do better. We encourage companies to look up, be creative, and explore even the most absurd ideas. You might be surprised at how profitable a statement that you thought was impossible or too expensive suddenly becomes feasible.

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Apple Plans To Double Its Digital Advertising Business Workforce.

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The move raises industry concerns following the launch of privacy guidelines which make it impossible to create ads that are tailored to iPhone users

Apple plans to more than double its workforce within its rapidly growing digital advertising business in less than 18 months after it enacted radical privacy rules that crippled its larger competitors in the lucrative business.

The iPhone maker has about 250 employees per LinkedIn advertising platforms team. On the Apple careers website, it’s looking to fill additional 216 positions, which is quadruple the 56 positions that it had hired in the latter half of 2020. Apple denied the claims. However, it declined to provide any further details.

The digital advertising industry has been apprehensive over Apple’s plans for advertising since the company introduced privacy regulations this year, which have shaken up the market for digital ads worth $400 billion and made it more challenging to customize ads for Apple’s one billion+ iusers Phone .

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Since the new policy was implemented, Facebook parent Meta, Snap and Twitter have lost billions of dollars in revenue and a significant amount in market valuations, even though other contributory factors exist.

“It was almost like a global panic,” Jade Arenstein, global service director at Incubate, a South African-based marketing performance firm, was quoted as saying about the impact of Apple’s recent changes.

The once-flourishing advertising business is “incredibly fast-growing”, according to an ad for jobs. The business has grown from a mere few hundred million dollars in revenue in the last quarter of 2010 to an estimated $5bn in the current year, according to research firm Evercore ISI, which expects Apple to be able to grow its $30 billion advertising revenue within four years.

Compared with Google and Facebook and their 2021 revenue from advertising was $115bn and $209bn. For instance, Apple’s business in advertising is small. The digital advertising industry is worried that it will increase due to establishing rules that critics and rivals believe provide it with an advantage.

“Building new ad systems to effectively compete with incumbents with tens of thousands of employees and 10 to 20 years of maturity would normally be an impossible task,” said Alex Austin, chief executive of the ad tech group Branch. “Unless,” he added, “you were somehow able to disadvantage those competitors on your platform.”

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Apple has been for a long time the most prominent Big Tech outlier for not taking part in “surveillance capitalism” — the practice of offering customers free services but making money on their data through targeting ads on them.

“We could make a tonne of money if we monetized our customers — if our customers were our product,” chief executive Tim Cook said in 2018. “We’ve elected not to do that.”

However, with Apple having twice the number of developers who can purchase ads on the App Store over the last two years and preparing plans to expand, the critics are seeing Cook taking a significant turn.

David Steinberg, chief executive of Zeta Global, a marketing technology firm, said Apple had been “Machiavellian” and “brilliant” in implementing privacy regulations that required rivals to revamp their advertising infrastructure while creating an opening to fill the gap.

“They could build out (their advertising business) dramatically (and) the ‘air cover’ is they are protecting the consumer’s privacy,” said the researcher. Added.

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Apple did not comment on its long-term plans. The job advertisements tell prospective employees that the company’s goals are nothing more than “redefining advertising” for a “privacy-centric” world.

The 216 positions Apple wants to fill are managers and designers of products, in addition to data engineers and sales experts.

An advertisement for an engineer, released on August 24, is a reference to “Apple’s most confidential and strategic plans” and explains how the company plans to “build the most secure technology-driven, technologically sophisticated . . . Supply (Marketplace) Platform and Demand Side Platform”.

These are the core aspects of an ad tech company that allows advertisers to purchase and sell ads across multiple exchanges, possibly advertising in mobile applications downloaded through the App Store. Apple may be able to consider apps for mobile “first-party” data because all activities take place on the iPhone, which is in line with its privacy regulations which ban third-party apps’ contentful monitoring of users.

The positions are predominantly located in the US. However, there are at least 27 roles in Europe and 12 in China and 12 in India and four located in Japan, as well as two positions in Singapore.

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“That’s a giant team — that’s bigger than most small companies,” Arenstein said. Arenstein. “Wherever there is smoke, there is fire, and that’s some smoke.”

Apple has never been averse to advertising by itself. Its CEO Steve Jobs even tried to create an in-app advertising business in 2010, so that iPhone apps would remain completely free. Cook is against how personal information is purchased and traded by opaque third parties without iPhone users’ consent.

Yet, Apple set the rules regarding how advertisements should function and later expanding into this very subject is seen by many as unsatisfactory.

At the moment, it’s more secure — in terms of the economy of surveillance using an Apple phone over one that is a Google phone, as Google has designed its products to support surveillance, while Apple isn’t, in its essence, an advertising firm,” said Claire Atkin co-founder at Check My Ads, a surveillance agency. “But if Apple suddenly delves into that realm, they won’t have a that competitive advantage.”

Apple might be putting its image at risk if regulators and consumers oppose its privacy claims which have been a significant part of the recent iPhone campaigns. If the argument prevails, Apple would have an unobstructed runway.

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Margo Kahnrose, Chief Marketing Officer at Skai, an omnichannel advertising platform, has said that she believes it “makes absolute logical sense” for Apple to develop its advertising network, following the lead of Google, Facebook and Amazon.

Adtech’s power has, she explained, for a long time been flowing from the decentralized “open web” to “walled gardens” run by one company that can control how ads are purchased and served, as well as how they are measured and tracked.

“The world has been unnerved by Apple’s ambitions for a long time,” she said. “There are a few companies that have vast quantities of power, and Apple is the one that is sleeping.

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Six Ways To Maintain A Growth Mindset While Running A Business.

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To be successful as an entrepreneur, starting your business with the appropriate mentality is essential. A growth-oriented mindset implies always striving to improve the product or service you offer or the ability to communicate with people in your industry. Many companies start as small, but they expand in time to become massive businesses that impact people’s lives in the millions. However, this kind of growth isn’t a quick process – it requires a lot of time and effort, and it’s all with constant improvement.

Six Ways to Maintain a Growth Mindset While Running a Business.

1.) Change your outlook

If you’re in the business of managing, it’s easy to become caught up in the day-to-day and forget about the bigger perspective. However, if you’d like your business to flourish, keeping an attitude of growth is essential. Being able to open your mind to be fully engaged in the things you believe are the best for you is crucial.

2) Are you in your comfort zone?

One of the difficulties of managing a business is it’s easy to get into a routine. Once you’ve discovered a method that works, it might be tempting to stick to it. However, staying with the same formula with different outcomes isn’t intelligent. If you’re looking for your business to expand, make sure you alter things with slight adjustments to ensure that your business feels fresh and exciting.

3.) Be prepared to take the risk

Nobody said creating and running a company was easy, regardless of whether you’re putting together an exercise calendar or an entirely new line of clothing. It’s one of the most challenging tasks you’ll ever have to do. If you want to succeed, you must have a mindset of improvement. Create a staff around you. Find people who can assist your company in its growth. It’s not necessary to shoulder all the responsibility for your company. After all. Make sure you take sensible risks. There is undoubtedly a danger involved in taking risks, but when you take calculated risks, you reap a calculated reward. The most successful entrepreneurs realize that sometimes it takes a long time to bring an idea to fruition. Therefore, they remain in the game and push forward.

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4.) Connect with others who are adamant about your abilities

One of the most effective methods to keep a positive mental attitude is to surround yourself with people who are confident in your abilities. If you’re always around optimistic people who believe in your ambitions, It’s easier to stay inspired and push ahead.

5) Discuss your concerns

If you’re in charge of an enterprise, it’s simple to become distracted by the day-to-day and forget about the bigger overall picture. It’s possible to worry about how to make ends meet and meet deadlines or having to deal with demanding customers. Discussing these concerns with the rest of your entrepreneurial friends and colleagues is essential to ensure that things stay on the right track.

6) Be focused on progress, not perfect

When you’re an entrepreneur is effortless to be caught in the pursuit of perfection. You’d like your service or product to look flawless before launching it, but the reality is that it’s impossible to be perfect. It is essential to keep in mind that the pace of progress will always be better than perfect. Start by taking it one day at a. The advantage of keeping a single day in mind at a time is that even should things not go as scheduled. It doesn’t matter since tomorrow is another day to start from scratch. Create workable goals. After creating some feasible goals, please keep track of them and assess how they performed based on outcomes rather than the amount of time and effort poured into them.

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What Is Good Debt and Bad Debt for a Small Business?

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There are two kinds of loans for small companies. Find out which one is best and which one is not.

For many people, the term “debt” has negative connotations. However, when setting up a small-sized company, it is not necessary to stay clear of debt completely. There’s “good debt” that is essential for growth when you start an enterprise, but there’s “bad” debt that could cause long-term harm to your financial situation.

The difference between good and bad debt and how to manage your company’s finances to keep them in check.

Good debt in contrast to. Credit card debt What’s the distinction?

Lyle Solomon, principal attorney for Oak View Law Group, states, “good debt returns money to your pocket, but bad debt takes money from your pocket.”

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“Debt that increases your future net worth is considered good debt, and debt that reduces your future net value is referred to as bad debt,” Solomon added.

Good debt

Kenneth Hearn, fund manager and director of research for Swiss One Capital AG, describes good small-sized business loans as the money borrowed to finance things that contribute to the development and growth of their company.

“This could be for anything from paying for improvements to meet new safety regulations or expanding your human resources team,” the man explained. “A general rule of ‘good debt’ is debt that is low-interest, or will increase the overall net worth of your business.”

Paying off your debts shows you have a good payment history, which your credit rating can show. The more debt types you can manage responsibly and pay off, the more favourable. This means that more lenders will permit you to get in the future.

Bad debt

When a lender takes out money to purchase an item that doesn’t increase in value or produce revenue, it is often regarded as bad credit. Any loan or borrowed funds that could lower the value of your company’s net future must be avoided. The signs of bad debt are the high-interest cost, fees, and strict loan repayment conditions.

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Examples of lousy credit include cash advances and payday loans, usually called “predatory loans.”

“These loans . Target people with bad credit or low income with few options to consider,” Solomon added. Solomon. “[They often] come with exorbitant interest rates and unethical terms.”

Things to think about when making a “good debt an investment

If you are considering getting a loan, entrepreneurs in small businesses should consider the type of debt they’ll be taking on. If the lender takes out a loan for an asset that isn’t going to depreciate, for example, real estate, education, or their own company, on favourable terms, it’s considered to be a good debt.

“Healthy debt entails borrowing money for investing in items that do not depreciate over time,” Solomon explained. Solomon. “Keep the above in mind when you borrow money to run your business. Use the funds to minimize the chance of a catastrophe or loss.”

One approach small business owners may employ when borrowing money is to commit to the lowest rate of interest possible.

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“Your interest payments are tax-deductible,” Hearn said. Hearn. “These tax deductions could help you get over the red line and into the realm of profitability. If you manage your cards correctly, interest rates can benefit you rather than against you.”

Strategies to get out of credit

If a small-sized business owner is trying to escape the burden of bad debt, There are options to overcome the situation. First, examine the company’s budget and financial statements.

“Financial management software has come a long way over the past couple of decades, and having proper procedures for data entry and its use from the start of your business is crucial to managing good or bad debt,” Hearn said. Hearn.

For business owners who are in “bad debt,” Solomon advised consolidating debts to one loan.

“Debt consolidation is an intelligent debt management approach to ensure you’re paying the lowest rates and on the most optimal or flexible terms available,” said the expert to CO–. “Such a move would benefit your business, as you can avoid worries regarding payments.”

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Companies must ensure they have the funds to repay this consolidating loan, or it could negatively affect their business credit and financial situation. However, if used properly in the right way, consolidating or restructuring multiple debts is an innovative method of managing the finances of small businesses.

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