Saturday, July 3, 2010

Business Growth and Innovation - Take Off the Blinders or You'll Get Blindsided

I've found over the years that most business owners work hard to grow their companies to a certain level then begin to slow down and reap the benefits of what they've built. That's great...for about 3 days.

The fast paced, global economy is a double edged sword. It allows every small business to compete on the world stage with the big guys but it also opens to door to allow EVERY business with a similar product or service to compete on that same stage...with YOU.

The business owner that has blinders on and is not looking for new opportunities, new ways to use of distribute their company's products or at least paying attention to what companies in other parts of the world are doing, is going to get killed. It's like standing still, with your back to traffic, in the middle of the freeway at midnight. You might not get run over, but the odds aren't with you.

So what should you as a business owner pay attention to when the blinders come off. I mean you're very used to learning everything your industry competitors are doing, you read all of the industry trade journals and you attend all of the industry trade shows, you're as up to date as anyone. Wrong!

In the economy you're competing in, you need to do all of that and then take it to the next level. If you're reading industry trade journals, your anywhere from 3-6 months behind the companies that are being featured due to editorial lead time.

Conferences and trade shows are only 1-2 times a year at best. And your competitors, if you're watching what they're doing, you're just a 'me too' copycat not an innovator.

Look at a wide range of industries, find complimentary copies of trade journals for similar industries. If you could use improvement in customer service, look at the retail market, look at on-line sites, look at everything customer service, not just your industry.

The quickest way to innovate and differentiate your company is to swipe and deploy something from a totally unrelated industry and adapt it to yours. Look at what everyone else is doing and ask yourself and your team how you can turn it on it's head. Drive your competitors crazy by offering strange hours. Remember when all automotive service departments closed at 5pm?

Offer a dynamite guarantee, remember when car warranties only went to 36 months, 36,000 miles?

Open your eyes and look at everything with fresh eyes. Look for opportunities brought about by the economy in your area and new ways to create deeper client loyalty.

Enjoy the view, there's a world of long as you look.

By : Bob_Holdsworth

No comments: