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Three priority actions to get ready for 2020

DuckerFrontier, October 3, 2019

As you head into strategic planning season for 2020, it’s important to consider not only what to expect next year, but also how you can best set your business up for success.

Building resilience into 2020 plans will be key because the political and economic risks that have characterized the last few years will continue. In 2020 multinationals need to prepare to weather those uncertainties, but also to capture opportunities amid a stabilizing global economy and lay a strong foundation to capture growth in 2021.

As part of our Global Outlook for 2020, we recommend three strategic priorities to help you win in 2020:

1. Create a Plan B

Given the downside risks to the global economy, it’s critical to have a clear and holistic view of how adverse events will affect your business, and how you should respond. A sharp global slowdown is a real possibility, and 2020 plans need to include a clear sense of what that would look like, which of your markets and operations would be affected the most, and how to mitigate the negative effects.

Use scenario analysis and contingency planning to help your entire company align on base-case and downside expectations for 2020, the main risks to the plan, and ownership of mitigation steps in your local offices.

Tools to support scenario analysis and risk tracking

2. Drive a two-pronged growth strategy

Multinational executives need to invest in both their existing customers (e.g., through value-added services) and new pockets of opportunity. To find those opportunities, many companies are turning to digital strategies.

Digitalization is reshaping business—it’s changing country-level dynamics, increasing competition, and enabling companies to improve efficiency, cost management, and customer experience. Invest in getting your local teams, including in emerging markets, to effectively execute your digital mandate. Make sure they have the skills, talent, tools, and vision to adapt digital strategies to their individual markets. Companies that can do this effectively at all levels of the organization are likely to find untapped opportunities that can accelerate growth in demand, realize cost efficiencies, and increase customer loyalty.

Tools for executing digital strategies

3. Build internal capabilities

The abilities to build and execute flexible plans, think creatively about changes in the external environment, and adapt to evolving customer needs, preferences, and purchasing behavior will be key to sustaining growth. To make sure that your product and service offerings really align with what your customers need, invest in customer centricity.

As part of 2020 planning, it’s important to have a clear vision for how your company is creating value for customers so that you can differentiate yourself from increasing competition. This is particularly true in geographies and segments where pricing pressures—thanks to reduced demand or inventory build-up—are eroding competitiveness for multinational companies. And that vision needs to be adapted to emerging markets and even countries managed through distributors—what works for your home market won’t necessarily translate to the local level.

Chart demonstrating that best-in-class companies that have adopted a customer-centric approach benefit from stronger financial performance than their peers

For more strategic priorities as you build your 2020 plans, purchase the full Global Outlook for 2020. To learn more about what to expect next year, download the executive summary by filling out the form below.

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