When last did you reinvent your business?
Every business needs to have new life breathed into it every now and again. Here are five pointers to help. Add comments with your own ideas, tips, experiences or cautions.
1. Take a step back and see the big picture
When you've been working in your business a while, you start to find your groove - problem is, after a while it turns into a rut. Great systems and processes make a business work well, but they need to be updated if you want to keep your business sharp. The best way is to make sure you regularly look at the big picture, check you still know exactly where you want to go and how to get there, and review everything you do on a daily basis so it aligns with your redefined goals.
2. See how your market might have shifted
Chances are that people come into your market when they reach a certain age, get involved in a certain activity, or some such event. They then eventually "outgrow" your business, and new customers move into your market. Alternately, you have the kind of business where people find you and stick with you for a long time, getting older and developing new needs as they do so. Make sure you're familiar with what happens over a customer's lifetime with you. You will not only want to ensure you cater to their needs as they change, but also appeal to new customers who are entering your market demographic, whose expectation and behaviour are different from your current customer set.
3. Look at what your competitors are doing
Your competitors are a wily bunch. Spend time on their web sites. Sign up for their newsletters. Follow them on social media. Get their mailouts. Drop in to their stores if they are retailers. Talk to their customers in you can. Find out what they are doing, see how it compares, and if you can apply similar or better strategies to what you are doing. Your aim is not to be a copy of them, but to ensure your business is competitive and your marketing is better. Knowing their strong and weak points makes you more able to keep up with them, knowing where they are at and bettering their game puts you ahead.
4. Find out what's new - and how you can leverage it
Find out what new trends are emerging, not just in your industry, but, for instance, new apps that might make an impact, new social media platforms (or new initiatives on existing ones), changes in market behaviour, etc. A few years ago you could probably ignore online and mobile trends if it wasn't at the core of your business, but that's no longer the case. What's the next thing on the horizon and how will it impact you?
5. Keep hold of, and enhance, the things that work
Every business has some things at the core of it which are what makes it what it is - and are the reason it works. You might want to change the way you do things, but beware of changing the fundamentals so much that you lose your focus. Your business also has a "personality" which should shine through, no matter what else you change.