Research by Grant Thornton identifies business planning in uncertain times as one of the top concerns of business owners and executives of middle market companies. The other top ten concerns show why companies are looking beyond traditional financial measures to boost their corporate IQs in times of uncertainty.
As part of the research, members of the Grant Thornton Business Owners Council were asked, "As you look at the current economic, business and competitive environments, what are your greatest concerns?" The top 10 concerns:
- Sense that the customer has higher expectations than ever
- Dealing with an uncertain future (can't rely on trends, need to be in a position of financial and resource strength)
- Constantly streamlining, eliminating activities and processes that do not add value
- The need for employees to take more ownership in what they do, how they do it
- The need to communicate more effectively with employees on our focus and future
- Productivity issues: Consolidation of resources, need for efficiency
- Looking for new innovations
- Overall management in a down economy (employees, customers, etc.)
- Increased price competitiveness in a smaller market with the same number of players
- Focused blocking and tackling (need to lead, but need to manage as well)
"With the volatility of today's economy, companies need to have a plan of action if they want to survive and thrive," says John Desmond, partner-in-charge of the Grant Thornton Business Owners Council. The top concerns show that an effective plan can't be built without inputs on customer satisfaction, business intelligence, process efficiency, employee empowerment, communications effectiveness, productivity, ability to innovate, corporate culture and overall management effectiveness.
A white paper featuring the Council's insights on the essential internal and external information that should be included in the planning process and how to maintain a balance between short-term goals and long-term perspective is available at Grant Thornton's Web site.