What's your company's top challenge? It's a simple question, but how often do managers step back and look at the big picture?
ThomasNet recently surveyed 3,000+ American businesses, and compiled the results in an "Industry Market Barometer."
The poll asked a variety of questions, but the most intriguing to me were these two:
- What are the top three challenges your company is facing today? and
- In the first half of 2011, how will you be directing your resources (e.g. staff, budget, time)?
The top challenges? Some 68 percent selected "customers cutting back/going out of business." The next most frequently cited challenge, at 46 percent, was "domestic competition." Next, at 29 percent, came "overseas competition."
Where are companies putting their resources to meet those challenges?
Related to the "customers cutting back" challenge -- some 66 percent said they are directing resources to customer retention.
Looking at the "domestic competition" challenge, 71 percent said they are "increasingly directing their resources to get business in new industries," 46 percent said they are "increasingly directing their resources to pursuing business in new U.S. geographies," and 43 percent are "increasingly directing their resources to competing more aggressively in core market."
Finally, looking at "overseas competition," 28 percent are "increasingly directing their resources to pursuing business in new overseas markets."
I'm not surprised that the majority of companies are focused on keeping and expanding their share of the U.S. market.
But with so many firms looking at jumping into the next hot market (medical? sustainable energy?), what niche markets will be left where suppliers can differentiate themselves and avoid becoming commoditized?