A window of opportunity in the perfect storm - Irina Khomutova, Khomutova & Partners

Window of opportunity in the perfect storm

What can you compare the current situation in the Russian market with? Perhaps this is the so-called "perfect storm", which occurs as a result of the rare addition of several unfavorable factors, which together create a special destructive effect. The announced rapid exit of transnational corporations from the Russian market, the disruption of established supply chains and the change in the product matrix of brands familiar to the consumer create strong emotional stress. But this is only one part of the question. If you look at the situation exclusively from such positions, you may not see a window of opportunity opening up for Russian business.

Let's leave aside the personal emotional assessment of the situation and consider the prospects for the development of the national market and what actions need to be taken now in order not only to save the business, but also to occupy the vacated niches.   

Actions that need to be taken by the business in the current situation:

First, get out of the echo chamber and aim to search for significant facts pointing to important changes for entire industries of the market, among the information flow, which is now being formed by all sources of information. Situational awareness helps businesses make decisions as impartially and as objectively as possible, given that inputs are changing rapidly.  

Secondly, to carefully monitor the situation without emotions and scrupulously analyze how corporations formulate their “withdrawal” from the market. Often the wording contains clues about their real intentions. This will allow us to more accurately determine the vacant niches, which can be both fairly wide and very narrow sectors.

Thirdly, to conduct an internal express audit and analysis of the company's internal resources, to identify risk factors that weaken the business from the inside. These factors may include poor communications with customers and suppliers, an assortment and pricing policy that is not adapted to the market, a company's service policy that does not meet the expectations of the target audience, and so on. It is internal failures and chronically unresolved problems that will play the role of a deterrent that will not allow the company to make a quick breakthrough and master the vacant niches. Even with the most optimistic forecast, internal failures can lead to fatal consequences in a crisis and multiplied external challenges.

Fourth, consider various market development hypotheses and calculate risks. It is very important to develop several key strategies and tactical action plans. There should not be a situation for which your business is not ready. If something does not work or does not work as intended, there is only one reason - insufficient preparation. Of course, you can argue that "we need to get into a fight, and then we'll see," but experience shows that if something can go wrong, it will go wrong. And vice versa, even the most pessimistic forecasts can be worked out with effective flanking strategies and, in a crisis with limited resources, exit with maximum profit.  

Fifth, to direct resources and the team to achieve the goals set within the framework of a given strategy with the possibility of adapting it when new inputs arise. In a crisis, the human factor becomes either a risk factor or a guarantee of success. Focus your team on winning scenarios. In conditions of balanced optimism, a team that understands the goals, perspectives and receives verified timely instructions is capable of breakthrough solutions and entering new unoccupied niches.

And sixth, support your customers and partners. Your communication policy should be permeated with support and feedback.

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