Category: economy


 

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Emphasis the human element of strategy to identify the direction and scope which achieve an advantage in a changing environment through its configuration of resources and competences, has the aim to fulfill stakeholders expectations

“The competitive analysis is a statement of the business strategy and how it relates to the competition.”

The purpose of the competitive analysis is to determine the strengths and weaknesses of the competitors within your market, strategies that will provide you with a distinct advantage, the barriers that can be developed in order to prevent competition from entering your market, and any weaknesses that can be exploited within the product development cycle.

The first step in a competitor analysis is to identify the current and potential competition. As mentioned in the “Market Strategies” chapter, there are essentially two ways you can identify competitors. The first is to look at the market from the customer’s viewpoint and group all your competitors by the degree to which they contend for the buyer’s dollar.

The second method is to group competitors according to their various competitive strategies so you understand what motivates them. Once you have grouped your competitors, you can start to analyze their strategies and identify the areas where they are most vulnerable. This can be done through an examination of your competitors’ weaknesses and strengths.

A competitor’s strengths and weaknesses are usually based on the presence and absence of key assets and skills needed to compete in the market. To determine just what constitutes a key asset or skill within an industry, David A. Aaker in his book, Developing Business Strategies suggests concentrating your efforts in four areas:

1. The reasons behind successful as well as unsuccessful firms

2. Prime customer motivators

3. Major component costs

4. Industry mobility barriers

According to theory, the performance of a company within a market is directly related to the possession of key assets and skills. Therefore, an analysis of strong performers should reveal the causes behind such a successful track record.

This analysis, in conjunction with an examination of unsuccessful companies and the reasons behind their failure, should provide a good idea of just what key assets and skills are needed to be successful within a given industry and market segment. For instance, in the personal-computer operating-system software market, Microsoft reigns supreme with DOS and Windows. It has been able to establish its dominance in this industry because of superior marketing and research as well strategic partnerships with a large majority of the hardware vendors that produce personal computers.

This has allowed DOS and Windows to become the operating environment, maybe not of choice, but of necessity for the majority of personal computers on the market. Microsoft’s primary competitors, Apple and IBM, both have competing operating systems with a great deal of marketing to accompany them; however, both suffer from weaknesses that Microsoft has been able to exploit. Apple’s operating system for its Macintosh line of computers, while superior in many ways to DOS and Windows, is limited to the Macintosh personal computers; therefore, it doesn’t run many of the popular business applications that are readily available to DOS and Windows.

To an extent, IBM’s OS/2 operating system suffers from the same problem. While it will run on all of the personal computers DOS and Windows can run on and even handle Windows applications, the number of programs produced for OS/2 in its native environment is very small. This is the type of detailed analysis you need in analyzing an industry. Through your competitor analysis you will also have to create a marketing strategy that will generate an asset or skill competitors do not have, which will provide you with a distinct and enduring competitive advantage.

Since competitive advantages are developed from key assets and skills, you should sit down and put together a competitive strength grid.

This is a scale that lists all your major competitors or strategic groups based upon their applicable assets and skills and how your own company fits on this scale., strategic management has three major elements: strategic position, strategic choices for the future and strategic in action.

To put together a competitive strength grid, list all the key assets and skills down the left margin of a piece of paper. Along the top, write down two column headers: “weakness” and “strength.” In each asset or skill category, place all the competitors that have weaknesses in that particular category under the weakness column, and all those that have strengths in that specific category in the strength column. After you’ve finished, you’ll be able to determine just where you stand in relation to the other firms competing in your industry.

Once you’ve established the key assets and skills necessary to succeed in this business and have defined your distinct competitive advantage, you need to communicate them in a strategic form that will attract market share as well as defend it.

Competitive strategies usually fall into these five areas:

1.Product

2.Distribution

3.Pricing

4.Promotion

5.Advertising

Many of the factors leading to the formation of a strategy should already have been highlighted in previous sections, specifically in marketing strategies.

Strategies primarily revolve around establishing the point of entry in the product life cycle and an endurable competitive advantage.

As we’ve already discussed, this involves defining the elements that will set your product or service apart from your competitors or strategic groups. You need to establish this competitive advantage clearly so the reader understands not only how you will accomplish your goals, but why your strategy will work.


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Latest News for Strategy Business Developments

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A chance to catch up on much-needed reading to refresh and recharge your standards and leadership style scoured this lists of books that helped to look at life and work in a whole new way. While these books are not your typical newest releases, they have timeless value and are best read together to rejuvenate yourself and, by extension, your team.

The review by Rebecca Talbot, Content Marketing & Research Manager & Leadership Story Lab sais:

Feeling comfortable in our workplace can have its downsides. It’s easy to fall into patterns and make assumptions about the people we spend our days with.”

The Coaching Habit by Michael Bungay Stanier offers a way to get beyond our assumptions about our coworkers’ behavior and learn their stories instead. Stanier’s short book explores seven questions managers can use to get people talking, and to train themselves to avoid thinking they “already know” what’s motivating people. His first question is simply:

What’s on your mind?

When we are willing to start our conversations with an open-ended question, the answers might surprise us!And that’s Stanier’s whole point-that we need to approach each other with far more curiosity.

The “what’s on your mind” question resonated with me because it is a question my dad used to ask me often when I was a teenager. The respect and curiosity implied in the question worked well to encourage a teenager to talk.

Likewise, family, friends and colleagues generally need an invitation before they will share what’s been important to them lately. Now that Stanier has reminded of that, I’ll be using this question more frequently.

 


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Latest Financial Topics for Strategy & Business Developments

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By the end of the century, a third of the workforce will be “knowledge workers”, or people whose productivity is marked by adding value to information, whether as market analyst, writers, or computer programmers.

Peter Druker, the eminent business maven who coined the term “knowledge worker“, points out that such workers’ expertise is highly specialized, and that their productivity depends on their efforts being coordinated as part of an organisational team: writers are not publishers; computer programmers are not software distributors. While people have always worked in tandem, Druker notes that with knowledge work,

” Teams become the work unit rather than the individual himself.”

Perhaps the most rudimental form of organisational team-work is the meeting, that inescapable part of an executive’s office in a boardroom, on a conference call, in someone’s office.

Meetings bodies in the same room are but the most obvious, and at the somewhat antiquated, example of the sense in which work is shared.

Electronic networks, email, teleconferences, work teams, informal networks and the like are emerging as new functional entities in organisations. To the degree that explicit hierarchy as mapped on an organisational chart is the skeleton of an organisation, these human touch points are its central nervous system.

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The total the talents and skills involved, whatever people come together to collaborate, whether it be in an executive planning meeting or as a team-working toward a shared product, there are in a very real sense on which they have been included in a group of IQ.

In maximizing the excellence of a group’s product, the degree to which the members were able to create a state of internal harmony, lets them take the advantage of the full talent of their members.


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Latest News Section Sources Including Companies and Bank Reviews

Outthink The Future

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| Identifying and Engaging |

One of the main reasons for this failure rate is that entrepreneurs don’t identify their target demographic correctly. Without clarifying your core customers, selling is ultimately a function of individual, heroic efforts in the field, not a scalable platform for growth.

The following four steps can reverse this downward trend:

 

Assemble and analyze customer data

Every firm should know how customer attributes link to core selling metrics, including profitability, cost of customer acquisition and customer-lifetime value. While this information is often scattered across multiple functions in a company, it’s worth pulling together to establish a common language of customer value across functions.

 

Get the field involved

People in frontline positions hold the best understanding of customer behavior as it relates to the seller’s cost implications and should be involved in reviewing the data gathered. What can they tell us about profitable or unprofitable customer attributes? What else might be driving customer acquisition costs in a segment? What are the implications for the organizational change?

 

Determine who actually generates cash

Implications from deeper understanding of your customers typically involve changes in how you measure sales effectiveness, performance reviews, incentives, product mix, channels and sometimes “addition by subtraction,” or the process of improving performance by not selling to certain types of customers. The costs of serving customers, for example, can vary dramatically for the seller. Some customers require more calls, some buy few large production-efficient order quantities and others may buy more in overall volume but with many just-in-time orders, impacting delivery and other cost-to-serve elements.

Sales people can be dogged optimists in their call patterns, often assuming that “there must be a pony in there somewhere.” Yet by knowing who the customers that generate cash really are, you’re able to clarify the value proposition embedded in a strategy and align resources accordingly.

 

Communicate your criteria

The breadth of potential changes means that communication is critical. Leaders must devote time and effort to discussing the rationale and what they mean for the business. In practice, most companies do not take customer selection seriously until things go sour. However, communicating customer criteria now can contribute to faster decision making and greater profit later.

The marketplace has no responsibility to inform you whether or not your sales people are barking up the wrong tree.

It’s your responsibility as an entrepreneur to think through and clarify your customer selection criteria. Done correctly, it can provide a scalable sales model, focus resources and establish an ongoing process for adapting your criteria in the face of inevitable market changes.


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NEWS & OVERVIEW DISCUSSIONS IN DIFFERENT MARKET INDUSTRIES

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Infrastructure spending is often debated as a political issue, but the underlying economic case for investing in new roads shouldn’t be controversial.”

Thanks to traffic, American commuters spend an extra 6.9 billion hours in their cars every year, burning 3.1 billion gallons of gasoline as they idle. More importantly, 40,000 drivers die on highways annually, a toll that could be reduced through safer design. Thus, as investing in infrastructure could make the US safer and more productive, the need for new highways shouldn’t be a partisan issue.

Improving to Meet Growing Demands

The last major infrastructure spending bill, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, was a stimulus measure designed to spur aggregate demand for labor and materials. Now that the economy has nearly recovered from the Great Recession, there isn’t as great a need for legislation to prop up the labor market. Instead, the next infrastructure bill should focus on increasing the supply of labor and goods available to businesses and consumers.

Improving the country’s transportation grid will likely increase the economy’s potential for future growth. When workers can’t commute rapidly from the suburbs into dense city centers, the nation’s most dynamic labor markets begin to stagnate. Similarly, if finished goods can’t be transported quickly to customers, shipping bottlenecks will impose drags on manufacturers.

With more people driving to work than ever before, the carrying capacity of the nation’s roads is increasingly coming under strain. Faster commutes will increase the supply of available labor—the less time people spend stuck in traffic, the more hours they’ll have available to work. The total cost of US highway congestion is estimated to top $160 billion annually, which will rise further as the population grows. Considering that the combined state and federal highway budget totals only $280 billion, there appears to be substantial potential returns on aggressive infrastructure investment.

Politics vs. Economics

While the economics of infrastructure investment are clear, the politics are more complicated. Since the beneficiaries of transportation projects are often far removed from the actual construction, almost all new highway investment is funded at the federal level. For example, relatively few people might visit west Texas, but all American consumers benefit from the goods that flow across the continent on the federally funded Interstate 10. Regional transit improvements provide the same diffuse impact—a Manhattanite may never cross the George Washington Bridge, but will still benefit from living in a labor market that draws talent across state lines.

Using the revenues from federal fuel taxes to fund new construction allows states to share the cost of projects that benefit the entire economy. However, it also makes highway funding vulnerable to the political gridlock that inevitably afflicts all federal spending measures.

The Highway Trust Fund has been depleted, and today’s insufficient outlays for construction already exceed revenues by $10 billion annually. Increased spending will require either raising fuel taxes or adding to the deficit, neither of which will likely be popular on Capitol Hill.

Supply-side economics may have fallen out of favor, but it’s still applicable for infrastructure spending. Borrowing to fund projects today that will increase the economy’s growth rate for decades to come makes sense. Deficit spending on infrastructure should be expected to pay for itself by increasing the tax base over time.

Technology’s Role

Technology promises to improve the efficiency of our existing transportation infrastructure, even if federal funding never materializes. “Smart” technology could improve the carrying capacity of our highways by coordinating signals to keep traffic flowing.

Optimization algorithms for public transit could deploy buses and trains more efficiently during rush hour, and improving communications technology is making telecommuting an option for more workers, reducing the number of commuters on the road. And unlike building physical infrastructure, technological projects will likely be adapted as public-private partnerships, financed by municipal or corporate bonds. As a result, gridlock in Washington may inspire creative solutions on the local level.”

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“An old academic theory links interest rates to inflation and growth, and that connection seemed durable for some time.

In past business cycles, periods of high inflation and rapid expansion led investors to demand a high rate of return. When the economy grew slowly and prices held stable, interest rates fell as competition for capital declined.

Since 2000, however, the real yield on the 10-year Treasury—which is often seen as a proxy for the true long-term interest rate—has persistently fallen short of the real rate of economic growth. The theory tells us the 10-year yield should rest between 4 and 5 percent today, far above its current 3 percent. The link between growth and interest rates still exists, but there are external forces combining to keep yields soft throughout the expansion.

 

It’s Not an Inflation Surprise

Over the past decade, investors’ expectations for inflation have aligned closely with the actual behavior of prices, so today’s relatively low real yields cannot be attributed to an unforeseen bout of inflation catching the market off guard. Bond investors currently anticipate inflation to hold near the Federal Reserve’s 2 percent target over the long run, leaving a very low real return.

The 10-year Treasury Inflation Protected Securities yield is currently less than 1 percent, yet real GDP growth sits near 2 percent with the potential to accelerate to 3 percent in the fall. It seems curious, then, that bond investors are settling for so little.

 

Widening Spreads

Treasury yields may be historically low, but they exceed the yield on German bunds by more than 2 percentage points—a historically wide margin. For global investors seeking safe returns, US government debt is much more attractive than the bonds issued in Europe or Japan, where quantitative easing programs are intentionally suppressing yields. The Fed may have tapered its own asset-purchasing program, but the US bond market is likely being skewed by the actions of central banks abroad.

This distortion should eventually fade. The European Central Bank plans to gradually wind down its quantitative easing program this year, which will allow yields to rise to their natural equilibrium. But tapering will unfold over a long period, and the US advantage in yields will likely persist for some time.

 

Trade Imbalances

Developing economies naturally run trade surpluses; to keep their exchange rates stable, foreign governments often park their surplus dollars in US Treasurys. This keeps East Asia’s export-focused manufacturing sectors competitive on the global market, but the influx of foreign capital also tends to drive Treasury yields lower.

Trade imbalances are the natural consequence of rapid growth in industrializing nations, a trend that shows no sign of slowing. Dollarization should begin to ebb as a new consumer class emerges throughout the developing world, but this shift in capital flows is likely to evolve over decades.

 

Capital Requirements

The Fed is shrinking its balance sheet, but new banking regulations have increased liquid capital holding requirements for large financial institutions. This means that as the Fed sells off the excess holdings acquired through quantitative easing, demand from private banks likely will increase.

This is one reason for the relative stability of yields as balance sheet normalization begins. The Fed is currently allowing $30 billion in Treasurys and other long-term securities to mature every month, with the pace of the runoff set to accelerate to $50 billion monthly later this year. Much of the new debt entering the market is being bought up by financial firms, which are required to maintain a large buffer of stable, liquid assets as a backstop against volatility. Since Treasurys are ideal for meeting this requirement, banks will likely continue to buy them even when yields are below their natural equilibrium.

Long-term bond yields—and by extension, interest rates—may be resting well below their natural equilibrium. If inflation holds near the Fed’s 2 percent target and real growth averages between 2 and 3 percent annually, nominal yields should tend to rise toward 4 percent.

The link between interest rates, growth and inflation has not broken, but the forces skewing the bond market are persistent. Yields are likely to evolve over the course of years or even decades as they seek their natural equilibrium.

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Latest News for Strategy Business Developments

If it can be sustained, the robust economic growth that we have seen this year could help lift millions out of poverty, particularly in the fast-growing economies of South Asia. But growth alone won’t be enough to address pockets of extreme poverty in other parts of the world.”

World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said.

 

Policymakers need to focus on ways to support growth over the longer run

 

By boosting productivity and labor force participation in order to accelerate progress toward ending poverty and boosting shared prosperity. Activity in advanced economies is expected to grow 2.2 percent in 2018 before easing to a 2 percent rate of expansion next year, as central banks gradually remove monetary stimulus, the June 2018 Global Economic Prospect essays.

 

Growth in emerging market and developing economies

 

Overall is projected to strengthen to 4.5 percent in 2018, before reaching 4.7 percent in 2019 as the recovery in commodity exporters matures and commodity prices level off following this year’s increase.  This outlook is subject to considerable downside risks. The possibility of disorderly financial market volatility has increased, and the vulnerability of some emerging market and developing economies to such disruption has risen. Trade protectionist sentiment has also mounted, while policy uncertainty and geopolitical risks remain elevated.

NEW World Bank report says global growth to slow to 3% in 2019 from 3.1% in 2018, as slack dissipates, major central banks normalize policy, trade and investment moderate.

 


 

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Economic Trends|News section pursuing a compilation of the main economic indicators|

 

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