The businesses that are prospering in these uncertain, volatile and demanding economic conditions are those that both have clear competitive advantages and that can turn on a dime.

Changing economies create opportunities as well as issues. It’s all a matter of perspective, but agility, as well as strategy, is critical to success.

For example, Waitrose has maintained customer loyalty during the downturn by expanding its value-based Essentials range.

Similarly, Majestic Wine has today reported sales and profit rises earlier today that build on its unique customer and operating model that keeps costs low and service high. One element of its model is that customers must buy a case of wine, not single bottles.

Historically, a full case of 12 bottles was the minimum order allowed, but in the past couple of years, in response to customer demand, the company has reduced this minimum to half a case, or six bottles. The result has been a growth in customer numbers, volume and average bottle price: not bad for a shift in policy that some worried would reduce, not grow sales.

How is life changing for your customers, what new needs is that creating and what does your business need to do and need to change to create new sources of value to meet those needs and opportunities?

© Stuart Cross 2012. All rights reserved.