In today’s economy, no company can rest on its laurels. Globalization, computerization, and online advances have transformed the marketplace. Staying competitive requires a commitment to do whatever is necessary to remain relevant in the midst of such economic flux. Here are seven tips for growing your company when the competition is tough.
1. Study your customers. Expanding your customer base is great, but first, you need to ensure that you don’t lose existing customers. They are your foothold in tomorrow’s economy. So study their wants and needs, their desires and aspirations. Listen to their complaints and concerns. Be ready to change your products or services to ensure the continued satisfaction of your customers.
2. Study your competitors. Figure out what they’re doing to take advantage of economic currents. Become familiar with their technology and their marketing strategy. Determine the skill sets of their key employees. If there’s something a competitor is doing that you need to copy, do so promptly.
3. Recruit necessary expertise. If your business is being left behind by competitors who brandish technological acumen not possessed by your workers, you may need to recruit from the outside. It may be necessary to revise the job descriptions and pay scales to target the type of talent you’re looking for.
4. Renovate your image. The visual representations and slogans that your company relied upon for decades may no longer be adequate. In a rapidly changing world, doggedly holding on to an old and outmoded logo, slogan, or even company name is unwise. By developing and unveiling new image components, you can re-energize your employees and dazzle your customers.
5. Re-evaluate supply arrangements. If you’ve been using the same suppliers for years, it’s time to revisit those deals. You may need to consider other suppliers or develop new supply arrangements.
6. Reinvigorate the company culture. The time when companies could go along from year to year doing the same thing, in the same way, has long past. However, your employees may not have received that message! Encourage new ideas (try soliciting suggestions) and reward those employees who show initiative. Let your workforce know that nobody’s job is safe, and encourage your managers to light a fire under their subordinates.
7. Celebrate gains. When the strategies discussed above lead to new revenues, increased market share, and increased profits, broadcast that to employees and find a way to celebrate. This is a way to maintain the excitement and sense of urgency that a competitive company needs.
There is no simple route to competitiveness in today’s economy. Those who manage companies must be able and willing to make frequent adjustments to take advantage of evolving technologies and market conditions.