A few weeks ago I led a talk for entrepreneurs centered around the economy. It was a very fascinating and intriguing conversation. At the time the market had just dropped over 1,000 points and the news media was interrupting programming with live breaking news. I told those entrepreneurs that they should be paying attention to what is happening in the markets. A lot of entrepreneurs have gotten out of touch and they believe that the market has no impact on their businesses. However, as someone that understands finance I had to shatter the myth. We are living in uncertain economic times. As an entrepreneur it is vitally important to position your business for success in any economy. Here are a few factors all entrepreneurs should consider.
1. Differentiating your product or service should be your focus. We are living through a very noisy and chaotic marketplace. It is becoming more challenging for companies to differentiate themselves in the noisy marketplace. The companies that cannot distinguish themselves in this environment are the companies that will die. You need a differentiation strategy and this is something you should be tweaking on a daily basis. I am encouraging entrepreneurs to stop replicating what competitors are doing and find your real competitive advantage. You need to stand out in the marketplace and your survival depends upon your ability to differentiate your products and services. One of the best things you can do for your business is to distinguish your product or service. It will position you at the forefront of your industry.
2. You need to think about the last time you evaluated your business. A business that does not evaluate will lose its edge. I talk to entrepreneurs all the time that never stop to look at their businesses. They just continue forging ahead without assessing whether or not they are accomplishing their business goals. In this environment you cannot afford to be careless in business. The new economy will require conscious decision making. You should study your systems, strategies and profits to determine whether or not your business is moving in the right direction. You waste time and money when you do not give your business a regular checkup. Studying your business will sustain your business in this new economy.
3. It is imperative that you establish an ongoing dialogue with your customers. One of the things that I do is keep communication open with my customers. I speak to them about products and services I am developing. I consistently seek out opportunities to get their input. Why do I do this? At the end of the day customers are the ones that buy your products or services. You need to see their response and reaction to your products or services because this greatly impacts revenues. The worst thing you can do is create products and services that your customers hate. Include the customers in the product development process. I always say that input is the doorway to increase.
4. You need to remain adaptable. I believe that one of the greatest skills you can possess as an entrepreneur in the twenty-first century is adaptability. So many entrepreneurs become so in love with an idea that they lose their edge in the industry. What worked today may not work tomorrow. As markets change the needs of your customers will also change. It is important that you are adaptable and able to change with the times. Entrepreneurs lose when they start lagging and ultimately get left behind. You need to study the trends in your industry. Also, you need to continue to put yourself in growth environments so that you can stay ahead of the learning curve. Your learning will ultimately determine the longevity of your business.