Extractive summaries and key takeaways from the articles curated from TOP TEN BUSINESS MAGAZINES to promote informed business decision-making | Since September 2017 | Week 316 | September 29-October 5, 2023
10 Strategies to Keep Your New Business Ahead of Competitors
By Martin Zwilling | Inc Magazine | October 1, 2023
Extractive Summary of the Article | Listen
Most experts agree that the pace of business change is increasing, and majority of the business owners are struggling to keep up, much less surpass the wealth of global competitors now entering the market. Based on his own experience as a business executive, the author believes it’s time to be more proactive in preparing for change, rather than just reacting to the latest growth crisis. That means working harder both outside and inside your business to anticipate changes that are coming — before you even know what they are. A few key strategies he recommends for a client to survive and thrive today are:
- Enlist industry leaders and influencers as proponents. Networking to build and maintain relationships with the right people outside your company is something you can’t forget in the rush to get your new business going. Potential customers these days rely more and more on name recognition for credibility and new brand adoption.
- Align your mission with a higher purpose in the economy. These days, customers are drawn to support worthy causes, such as saving the environment or feeding the hungry.
- Bring in experienced advisors to keep you on track. Most new businesses need three to five advisors or board members to regularly evaluate progress and resource needs, as well as your own leadership. These advisors need a stake in your success, like a monthly stipend, or an equity share of the business. This is not a place for friends and family.
- Highlight the competitive edge you bring to the market. Focus on a customer pain that your solution satisfies better than any competitor. Quantify the results, and avoid fuzzy jargon, like “better usability,” “advanced technology,” or “more productivity.” Client cost differentials of less than 20 percent are usually not enough to incent change.
- Use test marketing to identify changes before scale-up. Before you spend big money on inventory and scale over a wide area, make sure you have finalized your marketing, manufacturing, and distribution resources. Many new businesses have lost their credibility by not being able to deliver, or having a major recall early in the growth cycle.
- Put operational systems and metrics in place early. In the chaos of scaling, it’s hard to identify and fix weaknesses before they become a crisis. Be transparent with your team on both problems and successes, as you need to keep them engaged and trusting you. Also, take the time to get feedback on your own leadership and work on the culture.
- Keep your product focus narrow and messages clear. Resist the urge to expand your offering with additional products, services, and business models during early growth. These often confuse customers and consume additional resources and time when you can least afford the costs. Establish a formal change request process and analyze options.
- Establish a written strategic plan, then update it often. If you want maximum contributions from your team, they need to know the plan and have a role in creating it. Your job as a leader is to provide the resources to implement the plan, communicate it effectively to the team, and to bring on people who have the skills to make it happen.
- Reward team members who are advocates of change. Many team members have learned from prior experience that talk of change and change failures is penalized, rather than rewarded. Reward your team members in front of their peers, and make sure you’re encouraging suggested changes.
- Proactively provide training and team member rotation. People need to be given new challenges and to keep learning to stay motivated and engaged. Keep up with new technology for internal processes, hire people with new skills, and provide industry training for exposure to new techniques and competition.
3 key takeaways from the article
- Most experts agree that the pace of business change is increasing, and majority of the business owners are struggling to keep up, much less surpass the wealth of global competitors now entering the market.
- It’s time to be more proactive in preparing for change, rather than just reacting to the latest growth crisis. That means working harder both outside and inside your business to anticipate changes that are coming — before you even know what they are.
- A few key strategies for a client to survive and thrive today are: enlist industry leaders and influencers as proponents; align your mission with a higher purpose in the economy; highlight the competitive edge you bring to the market; use test marketing to identify changes before scale-up; put operational systems and metrics in place early; keep your product focus narrow and messages clear; establish a written strategic plan, then update it often; reward team members who are advocates of change; and proactively provide training and team member rotation.
Topics: Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Decision-making