Business leaders facing the current challenges of inflation, interest rate rises, supply chain disruption and talent shortages may find that they need to choose between two conflicting strategies.
An offensive competitive business strategy might focus heavily on aggressive marketing, significant investment in R&D and advanced technology, and strategic partnerships or acquisitions.
Alternatively, a defensive strategy would involve measures designed to maintain the status quo, retain existing customers rather than actively acquire new ones, protect the business brand and mitigate financial risks.
There are clear benefits to both approaches, but here we’re going to focus on how an offensive competitive strategy might help business leaders accelerate growth in order to diminish the effects of current pressures.
Features and advantages of an offensive competitive business strategy
Adopting an offensive competitive strategy requires a willingness to embrace change and innovation in your industry segment. There’s no one-size-fits-all to any business decision, but your offensive competitive game plan could aim to do any or all of the following:
- Capture a bigger market share. Target competitors with similar products and pricing, tap into a neglected market segment or demographic, or launch a price or advertising war.
- Seek alternative markets. Actively engage in product or service areas that break new ground for your company and challenge incumbent players.
- Create new markets. Gain a distinct competitive advantage by being the first to introduce an innovative product or service – the ‘first mover’ tactic.
- Invest to compete. Focus on R&D to develop new products that will blindside your competitors. Exploit the advantages of the latest technology to improve efficiency, reduce costs, enhance customer service and capitalise on your data via judicious analysis.
- Pursue strategic partnerships. Form an alliance with another company for mutual benefit, sharing assets or expertise to expand your market or increase profitability.
- Adopt an acquisition plan. Promote growth and diversification, or eliminate potential challengers, by purchasing competitors’ business unit assets or the entire company.
How businesses can apply offensive competitive business strategy
Current conditions across a range of industries in Australia mean that an offensive competitive strategy could be used to overcome challenges and take advantage of opportunities.
- Labour shortage
- Supply chain disruption and inputs shortages
- Rising cost of materials
- Difficulty meeting deadlines
- Climate risk
Possible strategic response
- Research industry salary benchmarks, offer competitive rates, benefits and Employee Value Proposition
- Embrace workplace diversity –and consider updating workplace policies to be more inclusive – to increase the talent pool
- Map suppliers, identify risks, create forecasts, stagger ordering, investigate alternative suppliers and substitute materials
- Use planning software to predict project timelines and make informed decisions
- Create an emissions reduction plan
- Strong economic performance and GDP growth offers opportunities for business growth
- Increasing focus on environmental considerations – renewables, sustainability, waste management – have fostered new business models
- Technological advances continue to shape the way businesses operate
Possible strategic response
- Target the most profitable projects that lie within the capacity boundaries of your business
- Use green solutions such as recycled and locally-sourced materials, environmentally conscious product features
- Pursue business opportunities with a sustainable focus to enhance company reputation with all stakeholders
- Adopt digital solutions for collaboration, cloud and mobile technologies, HR management, project tracking and analytics, wearable technology and drones
The ideal time for an offensive competitive strategy could be right now
It’s worth examining your own business from a strategic standpoint, to assess whether you are ready to take up a forcefully competitive position in your industry.
Can you identify an opportunity in your market, waiting to be seized? And do you have the expertise, knowledge and financial resources available, so that you can make a strategic play?
More risk, but increased potential for reward
There’s no doubt that adopting this kind of approach to business can involve increased risk. At the same time, the prospective payoff, in terms of market share gains, improved financial performance and overall business success, can also be greater.
If you would like to discuss whether an offensive competitive strategy could work for your organisation, and how to go about implementing it, Bentleys’ business advisors stand ready to make a customised assessment and offer guidance and recommendations. Why not make time for a chat with us, to find out how we can help?
Disclaimer: This information is general in nature and should not be relied on as advice. It does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular person. You need to consider your financial situation and needs and seek professional advice before making any decisions based on this information.