The great Sun Tzu said, ‘In the midst of chaos, there is opportunity.’
The market is emerging from 18 months of COVID-related uncertainty.
Most brands are eagerly looking forward to the next six months, including the festival season. They know that there will be:
Great pent up demand
Markets are won or lost in transition.
Consider the aftermath of the 2008 Financial Meltdown. I was working in the India PC industry at that time. The ecosystem was vibrant with many players before 2008.
The chaos started in 2008, in the aftermath of the global financial crisis. Fast forward, the ecosystem in 2010 was vastly different from the ecosystem in 2007.
The same will happen in this aftermath too. Existing players might wither away. New players will emerge. The eco-system for every industry will look very different from how it was pre-COVID.
Since we started with Sun Tzu, what would be the old wizard’s advice to handle the situation? Here are three simple thoughts.
Venture into new markets: For example, you might have withdrawn your direct sales force in 250+ outlets during COVID. Now, your team might see a big expansion opportunity: To take the retail coverage to 500+ outlets.
Or you were covering 250 cities during COVID. Now, you get reports that there is a viable market for up to 500+ cities.
Or you might strategize to engage counter staff (not your own team), for strengthening some under-covered segments. You have to decide on investing in these expansion efforts. They represent an element of risk. None of these inputs might be absolutely correct.
But venture you must. You just need to get 50% of your decisions right to have a strong run in the market.
How do you prepare when you are looking at new strategies to tap into post-COVID opportunities?
Sun Tzu talks about chaos in war. He recommends that there should be flexibility in the plans and the structures. This is the heart of ‘Anti-fragility’.
So, your systems need to accommodate a range of situations.
You might have a temporary sales force that needs to be trained. You might co-opt with a distributor to provide the expanded frontline team. How will you train them? How can you build a flexible training system to train 100s of new people? A disciplined, dedicated frontline team is still the lynchpin for success.
Data collection systems to collect any new type of data – to validate and exploit the new markets that you are addressing.
Stocking systems that can move stock quickly between places of stagnation and regions of growth.
Partner management and Marketing systems that can provide armed coverage for new markets in a scenario of rapid growth and change.
As you are plotting the regions to attack with your market expansion plan, lay down the planning groundwork that can scale – training, data collection, stocking, partner management and marketing.
This system will help you to attack where you are strong and retread where the opportunities are weak.
In the aftermath of the 2008 depression, some of the PC brands played safe. They did not expand with the market. Over the next few years, they got cornered by the more aggressive players in the market.
Top 3 players market share: (worldwide)
By 2010, the top 3 players in the market gained over 15% market share from the tail end players. The market was heading towards a consolidation.
But in 2009 and 2010, players started exiting the market. In India, Sony, Samsung, MSI, LG, Toshiba all downsized their operations. This gave opportunity for the players in the top to consolidate and grow.
The spiral of success and fizzle of failure are a self fulfilling force. Those who took the risks and expanded the market in the aftermath of 2008 consolidated further.
By 2015, the top 3 players market share (worldwide) was:
The PC market leaders whom you see today were made chiseled out in that transition. They continued to reap the benefits throughout the 2010s decade.
In the midst of chaos, there is opportunity. Build a flexible, antifragile system to back up your expansion efforts.
Talk to us to find out how Bsharp can help you build a rapid, flexible, scalable system that can help you train and make sense of the vast new market you are building.