In order to keep profits flowing and to take advantage of expansion opportunities, a business owner or CEO needs to take a big leaping step into the Information Age.
A new era where everyone – rich, middle income, the less fortunate – all have access to way more choices than they did 10 years ago. More choices about how much they pay for a given product, choices about what sources they should trust to make buying decisions, and more access to see what other real people are saying about your product or service.
They don’t have to settle for something that’s just “so-so” or which “sort of” meets their needs because of the limited access to different markets like in the pre-Internet era.
Now management needs to be more customer-savvy and ambitious than ever before. Demographic targeting needs to be precise. All this just to stay afloat in a competitive market; let alone turn an impressive profit.
Let’s delve into 3 key “post-industrial-age” strategies to keep your business moving past your competition beyond 2014:
1. Get ALL Your Employees in Line
Complacency and insubordination will halt growth and even destroy your company sooner or later, depending on your level of competition.
Complacent managers/employees need to be motivated (to advance the company’s goals), demoted, or let go altogether. As hard as it is, some of them just aren’t up to the challenge and don’t want to deal with anything but the everyday routine already in place.
Insubordination confuses the entire leadership dynamic of a company. Employees who go out of their way to interrupt the growth process; creating added stress with customers, coworkers and management need to go, in order to keep the cogs in the wheel moving in this, the information era of business.
2. Develop Human Intelligence
I bet you think I’m going to talk about psychology here, right?
Nope. Not exactly.
We’re all different and unique based on cultural upbringing. The culture around where we were raised, our ancestry, and current surroundings.
Serving a North Korean demographic is going to be much different from selling to an Irish one. People from rural Pennsylvania are going to have different needs, beliefs and preferences than someone who grew up in the projects of East Los Angeles.
This has a huge impact on product/service development and your ability to innovate in a given industry overall.
Please read this great Forbes article which does a much better job of explaining human intelligence than I ever could:
How does cultural upbringing (i.e., heritage) shape their mindset?
- How do their values and beliefs (i.e., what they stand for) affect their lifestyle choices?
- What are their ultimate goals and ambitions (i.e., what matters most to the individual)?
- What strengths and capabilities fuel their desires (i.e., their passionate pursuits)?
The Forbes article goes against the grain: bringing to light the fact that corporate america is so anti-racism and forever in fear of stepping over the line, that development and marketing tends to avoid segmenting customers based on race, religion, culture, etc. – even when it’s the key to placing the right products in front of the right people!
3. Prevent Roadblocks Before They Happen
This post on CNN Money has some really valuable tips for stopping roadblocks in their tracks:
A quick overview of the points made in the above article…
- Know your ideal customer: The point made in the article isn’t what you might think it would be. The author doesn’t recommend knowing your ideal customer so you can find them (which we already know), but rather to avoid customers who drive your costs up because they’re more demanding than others, or because the industry they’re in requires more of a custom-tailored kind of service. The quest for profits often causes us take whatever comes our way, even if it’s growth-limiting.
- Don’t be cheap: This is something that micro-managers are very guilty of. Not using the most up-to-date software and gadgets to help you and your employees get things done faster. Scale your business by purchasing the fastest Blackberrys or iPhones – keep updated on and purchase the best-rated accounting, relationship management, and data tracking programs.
- Delegate properly: This tip discusses how traditional “Org Charts” which denote the heirarchy within a company are pointless and often charge less-skilled people to do task they aren’t best-suited for, when others in a different position are more qualified. The author points to a CEO who purposely placed himself in a customer service role at the bottom of his company to better serve his bottom line, rather than sitting at a desk shuffling papers and wielding the company sword, doing more harm than good.
- Use data, not your gut: Yet another great roadblock-busting tip! Many startups have to rely on gut-level decisions to get ahead until their books creep out of the red and data starts to accumulate. The suggestion here is that you find the data first: e.g., what customers are worthwhile pitching, products that are missing from the market, ways to usurp the competition, etc.
- Continuously upgrade knowledge to stay competitive: This particular point makes an interesting correlation between yearly growth and where your company needs to be in order to keep your business development booming. Essentially, if your business grows 50% in a year then you, your management and subordinates need to be 50% better, smarter and industry savvy in order to stay competitive.
Hope this post gave you a different way of looking at the big picture of your businesses success. Constant innovation and outside-the-box thinking are the only way to grow a company in this day and age!