The requirements for successfully managing a business in today’s economy are much different than they were even just a few years ago. The current economic forecast is constantly changing, sometimes daily, and while the economy in general is getting better, staying on top requires focusing on strategic areas that impact your relationship with your customers as well as the team members whose efforts and talents are an important part of the products and services you offer.
The bottom line is that consumers are still spending money, but the way they spend it and what they spend it on has changed. In order to ensure that your company is one of the businesses in which customers spend their hard-earned money, it is important that you observe, assess and change (when necessary) every aspect of your organisation.
Challenge Your Assumptions
Don’t make the mistake of ever assuming you know everything about your business or your industry…because if you do, you’ll be wrong. Every industry has its own rhythm of continual change and with the fast pace of new technology that is making its way into every area of business, what was true yesterday, just might not be true today. And what has been the best way to do something might suddenly become the least profitable approach. Profit or loss are always temporary, and with new approaches and new choices, one can be flipped into the other in a short expanse of time. The key for keeping profits a reoccurring theme in your business is to stay in touch with the always-changing marketplace and to consistently assess if new technologies, new approaches or new thought processes need to be integrated into your company.
Assess Your Vision and Strategy
You had a vision when you started your company. Has that vision changed because of the current economy? If it has, has your strategy of how you are going to achieve your goals changed along with it? Or have you gotten so caught up with trying to survive that your focus has shifted away from providing a product or service that keeps your company on the forefront for consumers who are in the market for just such a product or service? Life often requires readjustments in our goals, our plans and our strategies. And a business that survives and even thrives in any economy is one that is consistently keeping up with the reality of what is happening now and adapting their approach to ensure that they are meeting their customers’ needs and expectations which will enable them as a company to achieve their vision and goals.
Be Open to Change and Seek Help to Make the Necessary Changes
If you look closely at the businesses that are doing well, they are companies whose management is open to change and doing things differently. In general, successful companies get help and advice from mentors and people whose job it is to know how to help businesses improve, and they readily implement the necessary changes. Where companies once invested their money on capital expenditures, they are now investing their resources in people and businesses who can guide them.
Sometimes business survival requires immediate help and rapid change, and the source of guidance for these changes needs to come from outside of your organisation. If you keep doing things the same way, you’ll get the same results. In reality, doing business is quite simple, but often the difficult part is to be able to recognise the problem, assess the situation and implement the solution. For many businesses, a fresh pair of eyes is needed to be able to look at the issues from a different perspective.
If your business is in trouble, your best plan of action is to find someone who specialises in helping businesses improve and grow and then follow their advice. “Hoping” things will change or that a shift in the economy will make a difference can be a waste of valuable time and energy that can be spent helping your business survive and even thrive.
Keep a Positive Attitude
Whether you think you will succeed or you think you won’t succeed…you’ll be right! In other words, your attitude will permeate into everything you do and as the owner of a company or business, it will also filter into every aspect of your organisation. Keeping a positive attitude goes hand in hand with achieving success. Change is a given for any organisation, embrace it and then develop a plan of how to turn the change into a good experience for everyone involved.
Remember Your Customers Are the Reason You’re in Business
When financial stresses come into the picture, it is easy to respond by cutting expenses and services or to start charging for things you once offered as a part of your overall product or service…just look at the major international airlines. The approach is understandable if the bottom line is the only thing you are looking at. But…if long-term viability and loyalty from consumers is your aim, it is imperative that they don’t feel as though they are getting less than they used to, because if they do, they will begin to look elsewhere. Ongoing communication with your customers is always important, but during a challenging economy it is more important than ever. It is at times like these that your customer communication should emphasise value because while all consumers are price conscious to some degree, more and more customers are comparing the value of what they are getting to the price they are paying.
Take time to bond with your customers in whatever way you can. If your business is mostly done via the Internet, face-to-face bonding isn’t possible, but if you have a storefront retail business, it is. And bonding can be accomplished even when a website or an email is the only way that you interact. Your intention to deliver customer satisfaction and each consumer’s importance to you and your company can be emphasised, no matter what form of interaction you use. And, it’s imperative that it is emphasised in a very sincere and genuine manner.
Hire The Best and Then Show Them Your Appreciation
Initiative and competence are typically inherent skills and not ones that can be taught. Look for these traits when you hire because employees with no initiative and lacking in competence can do more damage to your bottom line than having to pay a higher salary for employees who possess these characteristics. And once you have the best on board, take time to verbalise your appreciation and treat them with respect, letting them know they are an important part of the overall success of your business. Help your employees thrive and you will thrive right along with them.
Focus is Key
Good management is a critical component behind every successful company no matter what their size, and it’s even more crucial for smaller companies. Increased sales and low turnover were once big deciding factors in an organisation’s success, but in today’s business climate, employee and customer satisfaction are stronger determining factors. The Response Group, which is one of the companies that has been awarded with the Deloitte Best Managed Companies Awards Programme for Irish Companies, focuses on key strategies: “The Response Group is an Irish organisation which has adapted its structure to respond to the challenges presented by the rapidly changing environmental requirements of the world in which we live. Our company culture fosters innovation and is focused on delivery and our client satisfaction.” Another award winner, FreeFlow, makes the following statement,“Every member of the FreeFlow team is committed to achieving operational excellence while serving our customers beyond their expectations.” In both instances, these companies are adapting, changing and focusing in ways that keep their products and services on the forefront of their industries.
In other words, companies that are not only surviving in this business climate, but are thriving and being recognised for their “superior business performance” turn challenges and changes into a positive for their organisation while focusing on delivering customer satisfaction that goes above and beyond the norm.
Every Team Needs a Strong Leader
Your vision, your dreams and your goals are the impetus behind the existence of your company which means you need to be at the helm to lead your organisation through any challenges that may occur into becoming and staying a growing and thriving enterprise. Your team members are there to help and support you, your customers will provide the demand and need for your product or service, but you are the one who needs to keep your company focused and moving forward. Your business is like a team of horses, if they are given strong, clear signals and the encouragement to keep moving, they will continue to push ahead with willingness and determination.
Be a True Entrepreneur
If you look up the word ‘entrepreneur’ in any thesaurus, you will find synonyms such as “go-getter; mover and shaker, idea man, promoter…” and as a small business owner, you are each and every one of those things. So feel the power in that and in your ability to make a difference in not only your life but in every life you touch. No matter what challenges you may face, it is within your power to manage your company to not only survive but to consistently thrive.
To obtain a free copy of our Shocking Report “The 7 Big Mistakes That 72% Of Business Owners Are Making…” simply download directly from our site www.davisbusinessconsultants.com