What does it mean to "think outside the box"?
When it comes to small businesses, many owners and managers tend to have an "internal focus" with their operations. A few examples are:
• Product development
These areas of business are very important, but small business owners and managers must also have an "external focus" to be successful. A few examples are:
• Social trends
Historically, these are the areas that have destroyed small businesses. Small business owners and managers have been so focused on the day-to-day internal affairs of their business operations, that they've overlooked and missed key drivers that have major impacts on their long-term success rates.
A current example are the new FDA regulations for smoke and vape shops across the country. Businesses can no longer explain to customers how to use vape devices, and it could cost these small businesses up to $1 million dollars to sell juices that are made in their stores. This is an example of how political processes can seriously hurt many small businesses and put them out of commission.
Successful CEOs focus their attention on "external" factors and act strategically. They constantly "think outside the box" and stay two steps ahead of anything coming their way. But they don't do it alone!
Big businesses have the financial resources to hire strategic advisors from major firms such as Bain or McKinsey. And small businesses eventually fail to keep up because they can't afford to do so.
This is where Scopo comes in, for a very small fraction of the cost that is guaranteed not to break the bank!
Scopo works closely with small business owners and managers to strategically plan for the long-term success of their businesses, and a major part of this includes analyzing the external environment that impacts their operations. In addition to the political, economical, social and technological factors that impact businesses, Scopo also looks at the following external factors:
• Customer segmentation
• Demographic landscape
• Competitor operations
• Industry trends
• Substitutes and compliments
• Unmet consumer needs
• And much more!
In the end, our small business clients are in a "position" for long-term growth and success. And when our small businesses succeed, our communities succeed!
The 2016 Olympic Games are in full force. The athletes have spent a lifetime preparing for this very moment in time. And when they compete, the winners are not just the ones who are in the best shape but are the ones who have the best competitive strategy!
Your small business might be in great shape too, but do you have a competitive strategy to really win among your rivals?
As the U.S. presidential elections are ramping up and the Fed continues to contemplate an interest rate hike, many small business owners are left wondering which political candidate will address and fix the issues that matter to them the most and will the economy support their efforts to sustain profitability. If one thing is clear, it’s that uncertain economic times are coming for our nation as a whole and our local small business owners are nervous about how it will affect their operations.
Although we can not predict the future, we can certainly plan for it. The fact is that times of economic uncertainty can present opportunities for small businesses, if they’re prepared. At Scopo, our strategic advisors work closely with Mercer County, NJ small business owners to achieve their goals by planning ahead. We create focused, structured, and innovative strategies that compliment any business model and deliver real results.
Earlier in the year, we stated that large retailers are rethinking their inventory strategies to profitably serve the growing needs of online shoppers. We are now beginning to see their strategies impact other parts of New Jersey and in time this will have an effect on our small businesses here in Mercer County.
At Scopo, we continuously research and analyze the global, national, state and local economic and political conditions that affect our small businesses in Mercer County, NJ. We have the expertise and capabilities to create winning strategies that are focused, structured, and innovative.
The aftermath of Brexit continues to evolve. While the Dow Jones Industrial Average has hit an all-time high, it may be short lived.
Something else is unfolding in Europe that will put investors from around the world on edge, and it involves EU's fourth largest economy - Italy.
Italy's banking system in on the brink of collapse, primarily due to its public debt rate which currently stands at 135% of its GDP. Couple this data with Italy's devastating high unemployment rate, and you have all the ingredients to a five-star crisis that would cripple the EU and create a ripple effect across the global economy.
What does this mean for Mercer County, NJ small businesses? A lot. The industries which will be greatly impacted are financial services, food and coffee outlets, automotive and motorcycle establishments, fabric and fashion retailers, energy and petroleum distributors, and more.
Scopo is keeping an eye on Matteo Renzi and the EU publication of the July 29th "stress test" results of Italy's banking system. We do not expect it to be pretty, and this could create global investors to scramble and induce chaos.
Can Mercer County, NJ small businesses hedge their exposure and risk to Italy's economy? Absolutely. Contact Scopo today to discuss how a winning strategy can create positive results for your small business and learn why "Your Scopo is Our Scopo!"
Large retailers are rethinking their inventory strategies along with down-sizing their big box stores to profitably serve the growing needs of online shoppers. Small businesses too must assess their sales trends and strategize to meet consumer demands.
United Kingdom's decision to leave the European Union will certainly have a massive ripple effect across the global economy. Newton's Third Law of Motion in physics states "for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction."
What does this mean for our local small businesses? That would depend on your industry. Some will prosper, but others will suffer. No one can predict the final outcome, for the true effects will not be realized until 2 to 5 years down the road - maybe longer.
But what we can be certain of is that the financial markets will experience volatility around the world affecting interest rates, exchange rates and retirement accounts. Also, commodity prices will swing including gold, oil, cocoa and copper. And finally, immigration policies will be impacted that will certainly lead to international political consequences for every country involved in trade negotiations with the European Union.
All of this and more will have consequences on our local economy, and depending on how you position your small business will determine what will ultimately happen. Scopo wants the best possible outcome and we embrace "Brexit" because it just might be the type of disruption we are all eager for - positive change!
Fact: American businesses employ more than 1 million people throughout the four countries that make up the United Kingdom - England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The ripple effects for the American economy will be far-reaching and long-lasting. Can your local small business capitalize?
Most small business owners are very skilled multi-taskers. They take extreme pride in doing everything themselves and don’t consider bringing in an “outsider” to help them solve their problems. However in doing so, they are missing out on some very important benefits for their small business. Here are just a few ways of how a trusted small business strategic advisor can be of value:
• Save Time and Money: Many small businesses struggle with controlling costs and improving efficiency. Strategic advisors are experts in developing strategies for reducing bottlenecks that slow down operations and eat up valuable resources such as time and money. They can also give you back the time you need to do what you do best: being an expert at whatever it is that led you to launch your own business in the first place.
• A Clear and Un-biased Perspective: Many small business owners typically reach out to the people they know best such as family and friends to help them solve their problems. In doing so, they find people who just nod their heads and give them the “yes” support they so eagerly want. A strategic advisor avoids these pitfalls and provides a clear and un-biased point of view that is “outside the box” and finds new ways to address the issues that are often over looked.
• Introduce New Life to the Business: Over time, small business owners find some level of success in which they are comfortable with and tend to stick with their formula out of fear of disrupting their operations and losing money – they consider this their bread and butter, or their core. But a strategic advisor can bring in new life for the business without affecting the heart of the company. In fact, a strategic advisor is trained to not only strengthen a company’s core but introduce it to new un-tapped markets that will increase returns and add real value to consumers and the company at the same time.
Again, these are just a few examples of how a trusted strategic advisor can help a small business owner.
Will self-driving cars disrupt your small business operations?
Think about this for a second. Within 4 years, autonomous vehicles will be a major part of our daily lives. Just about every business will be impacted in some shape or form. But for some, self-driving cars will either enhance their business models or destroy them.
Regardless which way it turns for your business, one thing is for certain: many jobs will be displaced. Anyone who drives a car or truck for a living is in serious jeopardy of losing their jobs in the next 5-10 years as the technology features necessary to perform the functions of a human driver are perfected and then more and more businesses will begin to see the savings it can achieve by investing in this new reality.
How will you react? Will you be on the defensive, or plan ahead and be on the offensive. Remember some of the BIG companies who made the fatal mistake by not recognizing the forces of new technology before it was too late: Blockbuster, Kodak, Borders. These are just a few of the big ones, but there were countless more of small businesses who went bankrupt because they refused to recognize and invest in new technologies that have impacted their industries.
Self-driving vehicles have the potential to benefit society in many ways, but it will leave many small businesses in perils if they do not plan ahead.
~ Businesses who cater to truck drivers
~ Pizza places and Chinese restaurants
~ Uber and taxi drivers
~ Auto repair shops
~ School and public bus operators
~ Postal services
~ Law enforcement / emergency responders
~ Food and ice cream trucks
~ Waste management
Just about every business who relies on vehicles for a major portion of there business operations will be touched. And then the ripple effects will emerge. Every business who relies on other businesses who utilize vehicles will be impacted, for better or for worse.
So think about it. Will your small business be impacted? Chances are the answer will be Yes.
Baseball strategy is a lot like business strategy.
In baseball we develop our players, study our competitors, and then write a line-up to compete effectively. During the game, we continuously analyze our plan and might change pitchers or switch hitters to gain or maintain an advantage on the playing field...but the ultimate goal is to win!
In business we develop a product or service, study the industry, and then position our company accordingly to compete effectively. During the game, we continuously analyze our plan and might modify our product or strengthen our service to gain or maintain an advantage in the marketplace...but the ultimate goal is to win!
Winning should be at the heart of any strategy. As a small business owner you pour your blood, sweat and tears into your efforts and so many times you don't see the results you desire.
At Scopo, we want you to win in the marketplace. We want you to see the results you desire. We want to be your strategic advisors!
In baseball and in business, strategy is all about making the right set of choices. Contact Scopo today to speak with a trusted strategic advisor who has the expertise and capabilities to help you obtain the results you desire!
Joe Immordino, MBA