History is written by the victors – brave people who are not afraid of challenges and act in compliance with a consistent, thoughtful strategy. This is true in modern business as well – everyone wants to win and succeed and to achieve this, one of the crucial factors is having a clear, specific business strategy that brings measurable outcomes, without which in the long term, an organization is doomed for failure.
A business strategy allows a company to have a consistent plan of the decisions and actions it utilizes to achieve its vision and business goals. This is why we believe that a thoughtful strategy is directly connected to a company’s long-term success – its financial stability, strength of market positioning and sustainable development.
Managers often have a good vision and aspirations, but when the company does not have a consistent, thoughtful and agreed-upon strategy, bright ideas are often lost and unrealized. In our experience, a business strategy that is developed through the inclusive work of every main domain of the management team presents one of the most powerful tools to incorporate innovative ideas in the company.
The benefits acquired through the formation of a business strategy that comes after companies implement the strategy include the following:
The development of a business strategy helps decisionmakers to define the short- and long-term goals of the company, and to set specific tasks that are indicators of the company’s future success.
The formation of a business strategy enables the company’s management to identify specific steps to be made to achieve each goal and then to implement them effectively. In our approach, as a result of cooperation with our business partner, we divide an action plan into its business goals for short-term, 2-3 month sprints which increases the probability of achieving the said goals.
A clearly defined business strategy helps decisionmakers in the effective allocation of a company’s resources in compliance with business goals. This is automatically reflected in effective operation – an increase in income and optimization of costs. In our vision, a company’s budget is some kind of validation of its business strategy that needs to be matched so that the company can successfully maximize profit.
A consistent, clear and comprehensive business strategy simplifies control of the company’s daily performance. According to our approach, in the initial phase of cooperation with a partner organization, we define a company’s business goals which later enables the management to monitor the organization’s progress. In addition, a business strategy acts as a precise plan of action to be made for decisionmakers.
Through partnership and collaboration with management, we help companies in developing specific, clear plans for maximizing profit. Our team’s “know-how” is an equally important factor for each organization and our unique holistic approach that implies studying the company in 360 degrees and analyzing it in the broader context, results in a thorough identification of its problems and opportunities. In order to achieve this, on the one hand we use analytical methods and on the other– a workshop-collaboration format. Over the course of the analytical works, we study and analyze every business domain of the organization, and afterwards, through collaboration with our partner company we form the company’s long-term perspective and unique strategy tailored to its business model. This approach enables us to help client companies in achieving greater success and to be important contributors to this crucial process.
Ancient Chinese merchants were among the first entrepreneurs. They have found a unique way to manage risk in international trade. They distributed their goods for sale on several ships and released at sea. Thus, if one ship was sunk or became a victim of pirates, the rest had a chance to survive. In this way, Chinese merchants safely transported most of their goods to the market of the neighboring city and avoided serious financial losses.
In the 21st century, the export-oriented business is no longer threatened by pirates, but it continues to face other challenges. In today's world, the political, economic and social environment is changing so rapidly that the most difficult task for any company is to find and retain a loyal customer.
The main conclusion that a business must make in the current reality is this: Chinese merchants learned this centuries ago - they realized how much risk the principle "Put all your eggs in one basket" contains. Inspired by an old adage, this concept perfectly explains the importance of market diversification. Its relevance is growing day by day for international marketers and it is clear that Georgian companies are no exception. The Russian-Ukrainian war once again showed us what we have already witnessed many times - how dependence on the market of one country interferes with business.
No one disputes that market diversification is the best solution for risk insurance. However, the implementation of this principle in the modern world requires much more effort than "several cargo ships". Even in the case of the local market, there are many challenges - finding a relevant target customer, winning and maintaining his loyalty. It is even more difficult to fulfill this mission in the international arena. So when we discuss reducing risk and increasing capacity for export-oriented enterprises, the question is not what? but the question is - how?
How companies can better find and develop an unknown market or, at best, markets? It is obvious, and it can be seen with the naked eye, that it will be difficult to succeed only by watching the trends. The most effective tool for planning an international marketing strategy is market research, and consumer research occupies one of the main places in this process.
Well, if you are a business owner and want to expand, open up new markets, consumer research can be the most necessary and useful tool for you.
opportunities for consumer research:
The number one task in the process of finding a new market is to find out if the buyer needs the offered product or service at the offered price. For a company, entering a new market without consumer research is like wandering through a maze. Obviously, a business can have a rough idea of the needs of foreign customers, that is, of where and to whom it will be profitable to export this or that product. However, these ideas are largely based on intuition and may well not correspond to reality. After all, any foreign market is unique and differs in many ways from the local market - its buyers live in a different geographical area, speak a different language, have special requirements, opportunities and preferences. Accounting for all these factors is a prerequisite for success, in which consumer research can be of great help.
The survey provides the business owner with detailed information that:
This is not an exhaustive list of the knowledge that can be obtained through consumer research. If it is analyzed correctly, the business will have the opportunity to get to know the new market well and find the right target segment - the client who is most likely to buy his product or service. In this case, the decision to enter a new market is made on the basis of evidence, not assumptions, which significantly reduces risks.
ACT actively helps Georgian and foreign companies to develop foreign markets. One example of this is a consumer survey conducted in Yerevan commissioned by a supermarket chain. ACT has conducted a study of consumer preferences and consumer basket in Armenia. Analysis of the research results allowed the customer company to offer the client a product that takes into account the needs of the target segment. Thus, consumer research helped the business to insure the risks, due to which it established itself rather painlessly in the new market.
Finding a target customer is the first step in entering a new market. The next and no less important task is to attract the attention of potential customers. To do this, the business needs to properly pack the product and deliver it to the customer in such a way that it arouses his interest. The role of research is also important at this stage of the development of an unknown market. Research, in addition to the rational motives of human behavior, also reveals what topics potential customers react emotionally to, what excites them, likes or annoys them. Having received this information, the business will be able to offer the product to the buyer, taking into account his wishes and develop an effective way of advertising.
A good example of this is the entry into the Georgian market of several foreign shopping centers. By their order, ACT conducted a study - studied the consumer behavior of Georgians, brand preferences and consumer attitudes towards the proposed product. According to the results of the study, the companies adjusted their marketing strategy, offered the buyer a product that meets his requirements, and earned the location of the target segment. Thus, research-based solutions ended up being effective for them.
The key to the success of any business is a satisfied customer. As soon as a customer buys a product or service, a timer starts. The business really wins if the customer comes back to buy again and again. This will be a sign that the brand has received the most important award - customer loyalty. However, loyalty is not permanent. People's tastes change every day, new needs and desires arise. In fact, the success of a business depends on how well it listens to its customers. An effective tool for maintaining their loyalty is customer research. This allows the company to constantly keep abreast of the buyer - not to miss a single change in his mood and always be aware of trends.
This consumer research opportunity was successfully used by one of the representatives of the banking and financial sector from Georgia. ACT conducted several stages of consumer research for him in Uzbekistan, Central Asia. In order to identify the preferences of local consumers, the study was conducted both before and after entering an unknown market. As a result, the company managed to take a worthy place in the financial sector of the foreign market.
As we can see, consumer research is a necessary and useful step for a company that wants to expand and open up new markets. This allows business owners to make informed decisions, which greatly reduces the risk of opening, exploiting and maintaining new markets. However, businesses should not forget that the “stopwatch that starts when entering a new market” runs continuously while the company operates in this market. Thus, entering the market of a foreign country is not a one-time decision. Business must constantly be in the process of research and analysis of experience.