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Anticipation of both market potential and production cost (including product promotion, manufacturing and delivery estimation, personnel and employee salaries and benefits, and customer service) is vital to the survival of a small business up against the mega-infrastructures of the global business community.
How to stay competitive in price, optimalize "at-home" production and assure one's place in a topsy-turvy free market flow between supply and demand? Is there a way to avoid "the domino effect" of other fragilized industries on which you are at least partially dependant? Must a small industry ditch local hire, bailing out for a cheaper labour source in third world countries just to survive? Are there any rules of loyalty when faced with the glum prospect of either laying off workers or eventually going bankrupt? What are the real options a company has in light of global recession, increasing competitivity, and a decreasing fossil energy supply?
Sizing up a company's potential (and vulnerability!) on a regularly monitored time scale is part of the answer. See the enote reference below on aggregate planning and how it applies to good business strategy, especially for smaller companies.
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