I’ve found by nature most people don’t like change. But for any business that wants to remain competitive – it’s a must. You might think that your café or restaurant has got what it takes to keep doing things the same whist keeping the same results, but that’s rarely the case. I know, I went from a café offering an ambiance and product that was in demand 5 years ago to an out-dated fit out and a product offering that people were now trying to avoid.
The top dog in any market rarely remains there for too long. That’s because their competitors are out to better them. Being number one can instil a sense of rigidity or a reluctance to change. If things aren’t broke, why fix them? This is where I fell over. My rivals were biting tooth and nail to get to where I was. They came up with new ideas and took chances innovating and did manage to steal some of my business.
It only takes one local business in your area to convert or steal a hand full of your daily customers before you notice a serious problem in your daily turnover. Don’t think it’s that serious? Let’s do the math:
10 daily customers who would grab a $3 coffee in the morning = $30
+ 10 daily customers bringing 3 of their friends with them to a $10 lunch daily= $300
$330 x 5 days = $1650 per week down on turnover just by losing 10 customers to your competition. This was only a conservative estimate.
As there is a massive opportunity cost in losing the friends of your regulars as well as the potential to gain their friends.
Change is necessary. Whilst you might be able to do the same thing year after year, it’ll catch up with you eventually. You need to be as aggressive as your rivals in innovating and coming up with new ideas. I was thinking about the Nokia story recently. Once a market leader over delivering on it’s promise to provide a device that can make phone calls without a wire attached to it. Today they are still delivering on the same promise… but is that enough now?
Embracing change can help your business not only stay where it is in the current market, but grow into new markets and increase profits exponentially. In today’s economic climate, making money isn’t always easy. And that’s why it’s as important as ever that you look for new avenues and diversify your offerings as much as possible. New markets have seemingly been created out of nothing, and there might still be a piece of the pie for your business.
You might think that things are ticking along nicely. Many managers and business-owners have a feeling of – “things are going well, we don’t need to change”. But you don’t know how much better things could be. You might be making money – but how much MORE money could you make? Change is important for your business. Get with the times and embrace it.
Those who resist change are those who get overtaken (or put out of business) by those who embrace it. The first movers into any new market always have an advantage. Although there’s nothing to stop others entering the fray, the first movers are carving out a market for themselves whilst others waste time. Business has evolved, grown, changed and revolutionalised itself continuously. Changes looks set to continue. Are you ready for it?
Here are my 6 tips for keeping ahead of the game:
- Allocate a day every 6 months to visit your competitors. Study them, observe their customers and their behaviour, what are they doing well, what are they not doing well. Take their best offering and find a way to do it better.
- Do an annual SWOT analysis.
This is an outline of your business Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. The power in this exercise is immeasurable to your business.
- Walk into your business with fresh eyes. I’ve caught myself on many occasions walking into work and not even noticing the things that my customers are seeing and experiencing. What is your first impression of this business. What is the service like, what is the product offering like. What is the ambiance like.
- Start a conversation with your customers. Ask them these two questions:
Are you happy with your experience here today?
Is there anything we could improve on?
If you ask these two questions of your customers and act on them, how could you possibly not remain in favour?
- Staff are often the hardest to convince that a change is necessary. A great way to avoid butting heads with key staff stuck in their old ways is to take them along with you when you’re visiting market leaders. This shows them what is possible, and I’ve found has great motivational results.
- Be remarkable at what you do. If you’re not currently find a way – Innovate.