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12:53 AM   April 18, 2015
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Harnessing the Recovery


Working as an investment banker specializing in the pet industry, I talk to a lot of entrepreneurs who are wondering, "What’s next for me and my business?” To answer that question, I gathered advice from some of the top experts in business and the economy and came up with 10 ways to capitalize on the economic recovery.

As the U.S. and global economy continues to rebound, it is time for pet retailers and manufacturers to make a strategic shift from recession to recovery tactics. The economic recovery is gaining momentum and the upswing can be seen in new parts of the economy each month. While some obstacles still lie ahead, the economy will continue to rise and businesses should be ready to act. Organizations that successfully hunkered down through the recession must now shift gears. After a turbulent downturn, it will be difficult to re-posture and begin spending, but now is the time to do so. Now is the time to invest, while recovery is still in its early stages.

In the shift from recession to recovery operations, there are 10 things every business operator can do to capitalize on the current market phase:

1. Establish a goal system.
An organization’s ability to capitalize on the recovery will be a direct result of the goal system in place. A tactically focused goal structure will allow your organization to make strategic gains. Develop a system for measurement and accountability and align compensation plans accordingly.

2. Seek out competitive advantages.
As businesses continue to lay low in the wake of the recession, successful entrepreneurs will harness competitive advantages. Focus on what your organization does best and drive hard into those areas.

3. Invest in market research.
Take the time to conduct market research and find out what your customers want. Look for overlap in your competitive advantages and work hard to control those areas.

4. Use technology to become more efficient.
Invest in technology systems and new software that will make your operations more efficient. Discover new ways to do more with less so you can outperform competitors.

5. Shed negligible opportunities.
As a result of the recession, you may have accepted customers or products at less than stellar terms. Look closely into each product or service and phase out lesser opportunities. Your business should no longer be in survival mode.

6. Cautiously raise credit.
Lending institutions are looking to lend. There is money out there for growth! If you have properly developed your capital strategy, you can take advantage of historically low rates.

7. Accumulate inventory.
Take full advantage of market conditions and begin building inventory now before costs rise. Business owners willing to buy now will be a step ahead as the recovery progresses.

8. Ramp-up advertising campaigns.
While you increase sales staff and launch new products or services, invest in targeted advertising campaigns. Highlighting new products and branding existing products will be a priority.

9. Recruit top talent.
A smart investment in the early stages of recovery is hiring excellent upper-level talent and adding additional sales staff. Due to the recent downturn, the supply for top sales and management talent is robust and affordable.

10. Make plans for expansion.
Beat your competitors out of the gate and prepare your plans to expand now. Work with your team and watch your market for investment and expansion possibilities. There is no better time to invest than the early stages of recovery.

While focusing on survival may have helped you get through the economic downturn, continuing with a low-profile approach might inhibit the growth of your business. A reluctance to invest is understandable given the seriousness of the downturn, but those who are willing to step out now and grasp opportunities will benefit greatly. Take a close look at your market and pinpoint those ideal areas for growth. As the recovery presents your company with golden opportunities, don’t be caught standing on the sidelines.

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