I recently did a telephonic radio interview on the subject of helping your business to stay relevant in the current times. The interview did not allow for enough time to actually discuss some of the important things to consider in today’s business environment, so here they are.
One of the most important factors is to understand your market place. Have you got any new competition and what are your competition doing? What new technologies influence your industry or business? Are there any specific standards that you need to adhere to that can affect your market place?
Things you can do to stay relevant.
Do a SWOT analysis of your business. What are your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats? How can you work with these to ensure you propel your business forward? It is important to then make sure you are focusing on the right market place. Who is your client?
How about actually asking your clients what they expect from you as a service or product supplier. Too often companies are trying to sell their product without understanding what it is that the client wants or needs. Ask yourself what you would want if you were the client. As you consider that, ask yourself if you are currently exceeding the expectations your clients may have. Simply being OK is not enough. Customers want to be wowed. They want a provider that makes them feel like they are their number one customer.
Of course, that leads into considering your pricing. You don’t need to be the cheapest and certainly not if you are the best provider in your industry. Often clients are happy to pay that little extra if they are getting their needs and requirements fulfilled. Price is not always the issue. Unfortunately some business owners are too quick on giving discounts and then it becomes more difficult to maintain a wonderful service. Something has to give and before you know it your brand is ruined.
Are your products relevant?
Are you relevant in the market place? Are you selling what and where your clients are and want? A few years ago now there was this little company selling books online. Some of the competition did not see it as necessary to sell their books online. They were stuck in their ways. Before long Amazon grew to a large international organization that now services clients all around the world. Some of those book stores that did not want to change went bankrupt.
When we talk about marketing it is important to think about how we market. Many people still sell on the old method of push marketing, i.e. sending emails, text messages and trying to sell to the client. The client of today doesn’t like being sold to like that. Pull marketing is now the order of the day. Give your potential clients information, e-books, mini courses etc. for free and engage with them. Have your clients come to you for your service. They have now already convinced themselves that the need your service.
Marketing via video has seen a dramatic increase in recent years and it is interesting to know that the experts say that by 2017, over 70% of internet traffic will be video. People read less and would much rather watch a short video than have to read through your advertising. Investing in corporate or company video is a smart choice.
Staff and Customer Training.
It is also of paramount importance to consider your staff members. If you don’t employ any staff, consider yourself in this instance. Education, education, education. Learn how to communicate better with your clients. Learn how to listen to what your clients are saying. What new ways are there to do the things that you have historically done in a particular way? Times move on and so does technology and information. There were the days when the salesman went door knocking and now that is frowned upon. What do you need to change to get with the times? You may need to educate your clients or the public so as to guide them to use your service. E.g. if you were a recycling company and there is no recycling done in your area, then you may need to educate the public on the benefits of recycling and how you could help.
These are just some points to make sure you are staying relevant and moving your business with the times. Every business is different and as such, what is right for one is not necessarily right for another. The point is to see what works for you and more importantly for your clients.