How do you measure success in the world of business? Is it an increase in turnover, profit, exports and the number of customers? These will always be important criteria. But, as they look to the future, high level executives from leading Turkish companies are setting themselves different ‘criteria for success’. They say that from 2005 onwards, in addition to the traditional criteria, it is necessary to focus on the following targets: ‘profitable growth’, ‘increasing the number of profitable customers’, ‘creating enthusiasm, ‘productive growth’ and others… These criteria will make their mark on the business world in every sector from retailing to technology.
During an evaluation of future prospects in a meeting with high level executives, the general manager of a retailing company identified a very important target. “We now need to set ourselves more concrete criteria for success,” he said. The general manager said that figures such as turnover, profit, the number of customers and stores were important. But he added that in 2005 these would no longer be enough on their own and set a target as follows: “In the future the basic criterion for success will be increasing the number of profitable customers.”
This general manager is not alone. From retailing to banking, foodstuffs and clothing… Now executives at the top of many sectors are setting themselves different ‘criteria for success’ to the ones they set in the past. In addition to classic criteria such as turnover, profit, exports, the number of customers, distributor network, new business and similar they are setting basic criteria for assessing future prospects. In 2005, for executives the most important criteria for success will comprise customer satisfaction, productivity and profitability. Garanti Bankası General Manager Ergun Özen said that the future would bring price stability and that its most important feature would be customer satisfaction. He draws attention to the importance of the customer by saying: “Customer satisfaction is the basis. Because it is the raw material of customer banking.”
Benetton General Manager for Turkey Zeynep Selgur says that what are they looking for is not ‘growth’ but ‘profitable growth’. Selgur says:
“Along with changing market balances and brand new macro economic data, I think the most important element will be able to grow in a profitable manner.”
Creating customer enthusiasm
There is no doubt that, as in every other period, in the future the customer will continue to be very important. But some high level executives believe that it is necessary to move beyond mere satisfaction. HP General Manager for Turkey Şahin Tulga believes that it is necessary to create enthusiasm in the customer. Tulga said:
“It only takes an instant for a dissatisfied customer to forward his or her negative impressions to 300 people on an email list. This is forcing companies to work on satisfaction. A customer can always find a better seller or a better price. As a result, what is important is to create customer enthusiasm. This enthusiasm will be like the enthusiasm of supporting a football team. This is the ultimate goal. We are trying to bring it to this point. It is a very difficult process without any clear end. What is needed is to keep plugging away right to the end…” Another subject to which Tulga attaches great importance is social responsibility. He says that social responsibility projects which will improve the environment in which the customer lives are very important.
Profitability and productivity
In a non-inflationary environment focusing on productivity and profitability is a sine qua non for success. Every company is focusing on this subject. A large proportion of CEOs and high level executives choose this area as the criterion for success.
At Borusan Holding, which has set five year targets until 2007, the most critical measurements of success are growth, profitability and productivity. Borusan Holding General Manager Agah Uğur says that, in order to ensure that a growth trend becomes permanent, this year’s priority criteria are improving profitability and productivity even further and raising customer satisfaction to high levels.
Benetton General Manager for Turkey Zeynep Selgur has profitable growth on her agenda. Selgur says: “I think that under changing market conditions and brand new macro economic data the most important factor is profitable growth.”
In addition to profitability another criterion for high level executives is cash flow. Index Group Board Chairman Erol Bilecik says: “As far as a company is concerned turnover and profit are plastic balls. They can keep flying into the air and from time to time they fall. But strong cash flow is like a crystal ball. If a crystal balls falls once then it cannot fly again. Our measurement of success is a strong cash flow. The second criterion is profitable growth.”
Customers top the list of CEO’s criteria for success
Agah Uğur General Manager of Borusan, which makes five-year growth targets, and whose criteria for success are productivity and profitability.
Cahit Ayvaz General Manager of Şeker Piliç, which has a special agenda for the sector, gives importance to brand value.
Çağatay Özdoğru General Manager of Sabancı Telekom, sees the most important success this year as passing into profit.
Ebru Coş General Manager of Manpower has identified four criteria for success, including customer satisfaction.
Erman Atasoy General Manager of Abdi İbrahim İlaç, says success will be cutting expenditure and making more effective promotions.
Ergun Özen Özen is General Manager of Garanti Bankası and sets customer satisfaction as the main priority in the future.
Erol Bilecik Board Chairman of Index, gives importance to profitability but ranks a strong cash flow as the most important.
Hazım Ellıaltı General Manager of Algida Turkey, sees success as being an innovative and trusted leading brand.
Mehmet Altıoklar CEO of AFK Cinemas, looking for a balance between customer satisfaction and profitability.
Mehmet Baser Group President at Baser Kimya, ranks profitability as the most important criterion and indexes this to developments in the sector.
Mert Güçlüer General Manager of Ulu Motor, will in the future work to increase customer satisfaction
Michel Akavi DHL General Manager for Turkey, sets expanding product range as the criterion for success.
Murat Goldstayn Re/Max General Manager for Turkey, Goldstayn sees applying revolutionary ideas as the measure of future success.
Murat Selek Otoyol General Manager, sees the criterion for future success as increasing the value of the brand and the company.
Şahin Tulga HP General Manager for Turkey, plans to move beyond mere customer satisfaction and aims to create customer excitement.
Zeynep Selgur Benetton Turkey General Manager, changing market balances means focusing on profitable growth.