In addition to trying to put today's economic climate into a context, Forbes' columnist Rich Karlgaard offered his observations on 10 areas in which successful companies tend to excel during the FEDA Convention in Phoenix.
Design: In a world that is seemingly moving faster and is more confusing than before design is becoming more important, he said. Simply put: design is margin. "It does not need to be simple or elegant but it needs to be cohesive," Karlgaard said.
Cost Leader: "This does not mean that you are lowest price or that you are cheap," Karlgaard said. But the business leaders need to ask such questions as: What are the big ways to reduce costs? Where is the big idea to take cost out of the business for generations?
Speed: This represents the company's ability to deliver what you say, when you say it and doing so in such a way that meets customer expectations, Karlgaard said.
Sales: Have the right equipment to empower the salespeople to do their jobs.
Analytics: This means having the software and procedures that can help the business leaders see what's not visible to them on the surface. For example, is the company's largest customer slowly starting to drift away? "This will become increasingly important," Karlgaard said.
Logistics: "Almost any market leading company from the past 30 years has been a leader in logistics," Karlgaard said.
Service: "You have to be consistent in the delivery of your service," Karlgaard said.
Communication: Externally, how do you communicate your brand in a world of rapidly expanding media, Karlgaard said. Internally, give the information everyone needs to do their jobs.
Brand: It has to relate to all of the customers wants and needs. "And if you strip away the name they still need to know it's your company," Karlgaard said.