Get ready, get set, whoa Nelly,hold on a minute. The failureto act decisively, to implement important decisions that are clearly in the best interests of thecompany, is a trend that we’ve noticed alot lately working with marketers around the country.
To remain competitive and relevantin today’s tough business environmentrequires marketers to proactively plan forthe future. Optimally, that would suggestthe development of a comprehensive strategic business plan that assesses the strengthsand weaknesses of one’s business versuscompetition and market trends to determine the operational actions to be made.
Short of a full plan, marketers canimplement tactical changes to the organization to set the stage for long-termbusiness enhancement. Depending uponthe type of business, the plan may includethings like placing dealers into appropriatedirect operated retail sites, refinancing tolower fixed rate mortgages and divestingmarginal sites to pay down debt or grow the business.
Actions Speak Louder
Whether taking a strategic or tacticalapproach, marketers must begin by understanding their unique operational situations,study their options, decide their course ofaction and then, most importantly, act. Inmany instances we have clearly demonstrated to a client that taking a specific newcourse of action will save countless dollars,operational headaches and directly increasethe value of the company. The client listens,agrees, but does nothing.
This prevalence of inaction is a mysteryto me and suggests something deeper inthe marketer psyche. Maybe it’s becauseour industry has grown generationally andold habits are hard to change? Or maybe marketers don’t really believe that thechange will yield the planned result? Ormaybe they are afraid of disrupting the status quo? I.E., it was good enough for dad,so it must be good enough for me. Somemay have trouble separating the joys of thebusiness with the realities of their deteriorating competitive and financial situations.
Thus in my opinion the industry is broken down into three distinct segments:
- Those with a strategic businessplan that is dynamic and fully implemented comprise no more than 5% of allmarketers.
- Marketers that go about their business ignorant and without a clue as to thefundamental changes they should be making represent another 25% of the total, andin the petroleum business of today symbolize future roadkill on the competitivehighway.
- Those with an understanding and anappreciation of the changes that they needto make, but do little or nothing, probablyrepresent about 65% to 70% and remindme of deer frozen in the headlights subconsciously awaiting their fate.
Today’s business is moving too fast, competition is too keen and time is toocompressed for inaction to be a viableoption anymore. Successful businessmenmust focus on their core competenciesand then dedicate themselves to streamline their businesses, taking out marginalor inefficient components, be theyretail sites, business lines, personnel or uncompetitive loans.
This new business optimization philosophy stresses profitability and efficiencyover size of operation. I’m therefore calling on all marketers to get ready, get setand go…decisiveness and action is now animperative for long-term business success.
Mark Radosevich is president of PetroProperties &Finance, a firm thatspecializes in mergers and acquisitions,growth financing andstrategic business services exclusively tothe petroleum industry. He can be reachedat 305-667-0855 ext. 3 or by email at [email protected]