Do you feel as if you're losing ground to your competitors?
- by Félix Robitaille -
These days, things are happening so quickly that to stay current, you need to regularly survey your customers, peers and industry experts. All the information that you’ve gathered must then be stored and communicated to your team to make sure that your organization evolves and is aligned with your key contributors including your partners, investors, employees and suppliers. The bottom line is this: if you can’t make changes quickly, you risk falling behind. Nowadays, it's all about how fast you recognize and adapt to market changes, new competitors, and new technology. Let me share with you seven basic principles that I’ve learned over the years as a business strategic advisor that I believe will help you get some of that control back:
1. Constantly revisit your business vision and goals
The best way to be able to prepare for the unexpected is to plan every month to re-sync your vision and objectives with newly learned market realities. In short, you must regularly update your business plan, marketing messages, social media, and website content. Static content quickly becomes obsolete.
2. Don’t bite off more than you can chew
Too many entrepreneurs start fast but lose the ability to change as their organization grows. Always listen carefully to your market and progress one step at a time. Make sure to build enough agility in your internal processes to avoid delays when implementing the necessary changes that will allow you to keep up with your market.
3. Foster an open culture and reward system that encourages change
A good leader is one that acts as a good role model for his/her team. When change comes, you want the message to remain positive and exciting. Reward new initiatives, even the non-traditional ones rather which support your agile vision. Be a facilitator and not a speed bump!
4. Keep communicating, even when the message is clear
To obtain adoption, you’ll need to repeat every important message at least seven (7) times, in different contexts. Anything less and you risk the message falling on deaf ears. Your message will be more persistent through your consistency of repeating it regularly.
5. Be ready to reshuffle team members to expedite change
It’s unrealistic to think that everyone will have the right skills or mindset for new initiatives. Bringing in some new blood can help speed up the adoption of the necessary changes which means you will need to move or let go of those who are resistant to them. One other way to bring about change is to initiate new strategic partnerships or make new acquisitions to complement what you already have.
6. Refresh your communication approach and use market metrics
When you started your business you most likely settled one or a couple of communication channels. You had some success with them and are now reticent to change what’s working. Unfortunately, new communication options are in constant flux, and an old approach will eventually lose its luster. Having the right market metrics and having all that data stored ideally in a CRM can make a massive difference in detecting these new trends. Being able to access that data at any time will help you plan and execute your strategy more effectively.
7. Regularly update internal process tools and solutions that support them
The perfect system and processes don’t exist. You need to have a culture that encourages curiosity and continuous improvement in processes, as well as the solutions that will help you operate them. With the right technology, you’ll be able to measure your gains in productivity rather than make assumptions.
Easy access to technology and information is reducing the number of entry-into-market obstacles for new competitors. It’s more than likely that your future competition will come from an unexpectable angle than what you’re currently experiencing. Staying focused on these seven principles will help you identify them faster, as well as prepare you to face them head on. Obsolete processes or things that no longer apply or work must be deleted, or you company will become bloated, complex, and slow. Nowadays customers require that you provide them with a positive and memorable experience. If you’re able to accomplish that, they will become your best ambassadors through word-of-mouth, social media, and the multitude of review sites.