Updated: Nov 6, 2019
Congratulations! You have just opened the doors to your new Business, just accepted your first financial transaction. Fast forward a few years... Time to relax and watch your bank account grow. Isn’t this the life? Isn’t it time to hit that autopilot button and watch your Business grow? Well, if your answer is yes, then do not continue reading because you have made it to where we all want to be. However, if your answer is no, then you are in the right place. An entrepreneur should never look to hit the autopilot until you have sold your company, gone to the heavens or… well, I don’t know any other reason. Your work will never be complete, never be satisfied, because the fact of the matter is you will always need to improve to achieve or maintain your success.
The competition is always there, no matter if you’re the CEO of Amazon all the way down to the Mom and Pop’s sandwich shop on the corner that has the best steak and cheese sub in America. Your competition is having a meeting about you this very moment, trying to figure out how to make their product more appealing to your customers. The threat to your companies success is real, and you must protect it at all costs (stay out of jail). With today’s markets and the use of social media and technology, the competition has resources that were only dreamed of a few decades ago, imagine the next two decades.
One piece of valuable information learned from my service in the Marine Corps is that complacency kills. It would help if you always were on the lookout (BOLO) for new strategies, technology, ideas, and other resources that can take your business to another level. Take a moment to read the below Bright Box Insight on a few tactics to mitigate business complacency is:
1. Go Beyond
Wow! This is an excellent product that I can use today. When you go to the store, do you imagine using that grill today, or are you imagining using it the next couple of cookouts? What about the features? Are you looking at that infrared thermometer thinking; how did they know I needed that? I am so tired of stabbing my meat to check the temperature. That forward-thinking designing is precisely the type of mentality you should strive to have or hire someone with it.
Developing a product that meets your customer's needs yesterday or even today doesn’t equate to a good win. Consumers are ever-changing; why not be a business that influences that change. How? Glad you asked, your product or service should not only meet their current needs but also meet the future or the unknown needs. Predictive thinking, solving your customer's needs without knowing what it is they need. Then market to your customers that you have a product that THEY NEED.
I am not a fan of acronyms, but this one makes us feel good on the inside. Continuous Process Improvement or CPI is a lean six sigma business best practice. For the sake of this blog and to keep from boring you, I will give you the short version of CPI. Look at a particular process, something that has a start and a beginning. Then look at each step of that process and ask yourself two questions:
1. What can be improved?
2. What can be removed?
Then you act on those answers, ensuring that the process improvements equate to faster process time and improve the quality of the final product. If you sprinkle some CPI initiatives within your quarterly, semi-annually or even annually business evaluations, this should keep your Business from being complacent. Plugin: Bright Box Insight provides business optimization consulting if needed.
3. Value your Team
I’m not talking about your favourite sports team, but your staff. I have seen great employees with amazing ideas turned away for various reasons, which I won’t go into with this blog. Some of your most groundbreaking ideas can be found working beside you. How do I get my staff to give me quality suggestions? I am so glad you asked! This is the best participation in a blog I have ever had. Ask. Try having a semi-annual meeting where you talk about how the Business is doing, changes, etc. and plug into the agenda a session for suggestions. Cultivate a culture of openness towards business suggestions, ideas and improvement initiatives. This type of literature can be tricky to maneuver; however, very rewarding for your Business. Even if you don’t use the suggestions, your staff will appreciate the consideration and your ability to consider their thoughts. We can talk about incentive programs for ideas at a later date.
4. Business collaboration
Business to Business; can you picture it? Business owners are holding hands to success! The enemy of my enemy is my friend. That statement applies in Business and is an excellent strategic move to keep your Business from being complacent. Partnering with a similar business or even a company that may have a completely different product to offer can be ideal for striking a collaborative deal. Right? Yes, this is not an unknown or unusual business tactic. Big businesses conduct these sorts of transactions all the time. When you hear the words partnership or merger, that is precisely what’s happening. Sometimes those Business may come off to the public as rivals, but in the interest of the consumer and more than likely the importance of their success, businesses team up to overtake the odds or a common enemy.
So don’t be afraid to contact another business, work out a deal that can benefit you both and, more importantly, helps your customers.
These insights may be familiar to you, but are you applying these business initiatives? If not, why? Remember, complacency kills, and in this case, your success could be in jeopardy.
Continue to strive for success. Hold onto the reason you started your Bright Box Idea.