Charles F. Kettering once wrote, “The world hates change, yet it is the only thing that has brought progress.” That sentiment also applies to running a business.
While Spring may be the season of change, in reality, every season is. That’s why you need to identify it, understand it, embrace it and take advantage of it. Those who refuse to accept and adapt to change will quickly be marginalized by it.
As technology evolves and the world becomes smaller and closer, things are changing more rapidly than ever. While it took several decades for consumers to adopt the telephone, the explosion and acceptance of the Internet took only a few years.
The success of your business relies greatly on your ability to be flexible within fluctuating markets and understand the changing tastes of your audience. There are far too many agents of influence to ever assume that you’re well-positioned for the long haul. Even global corporations have learned that they need to keep their fingers on the market pulse to not only adapt to change, but predict it, as well.
The good news is that this is mostly within your control. There’s a wealth of resources to help you identify new trends, gauge how they will impact your business and prepare for them. There should be few surprises as long as you’re paying attention and regularly engaging your customers.
Be Humble and Hold onto Your Values.
Humility is often a difference-maker when it comes to growing a business. Remember, true leadership is in knowing when to follow. And you can’t do it all yourself. If you don’t have the expertise, patience or bandwidth to deal with changing market dynamics, surround yourself with experts who can help fill those gaps. For example, if you find difficulty in understanding the needs of younger prospects, it might serve you best to employ or consult with Millennials. If you’re a Millennial and consider yourself a trend-setter, some perspective — and perhaps a reality check — from an experienced elder could be the difference between succeeding and floundering in your own presumptions.
None of this means you have to sacrifice your values. By holding onto your guiding principles — which should never change — you’ll be assured that your decision making is strategic, calculated and not purely emotional.
Some Things Never Change.
As much as the world around us continues to transform, many business fundamentals remain the same. The latest tools and apps are still no replacement for talent, experience and best practices. Businesses still face the same challenge of leveraging what makes them unique, using it to distinguish themselves against their competitors and finding the channels through which they can reach their prospects. For the most part, only the mechanisms have changed. The need for strategy, creativity and dexterity is now amplified more than ever before. And, it can mean the difference between success and bankruptcy.
Nobody’s Right 100% of the Time.
The fear of failure? Get over it. There’s no reason to be intimidated. You won’t always get it right. Getting from point A to point B is rarely a straight line. You’ll surely make mistakes along the way. But, if you’re nimble and willing to adjust your course, you’ll have better results than someone who makes assumptions and follows their gut. The world’s most successful entrepreneurs have had their share of failures misreading their markets. It was their ability to learn from their mistakes and retool their efforts that made them winners.
Evolving technology keeps all of us on our collective toes, makes us more aware of our competitors and presents more opportunities to distinguish ourselves than ever before. Moreover, it adversely impacts those who fail to embrace it. As former British Prime Minister, Harold Wilson put it, “He who rejects change is the architect of decay. The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetery.”
So, don’t let change pass you up. Embrace it and go with the flow. In fact, give it a big hug. It could turn out to be your best friend.
Your circle of influence should not be confined to your immediate sales prospects. That’s not what marketing in the 21st Century is about.
To succeed in marketing, we need to avoid the distractions and focus on the fundamentals. We need to pull ourselves out of the bubble in which we live to see ourselves the way others see us. It’s this uncluttered view that helps bring the clarity and objectivity that lead us to a sound strategy.
Never Make Assumptions about Your Audience. That seems like an obvious rule, right? But, we all do it to some degree. It’s human nature. We follow our gut instincts. We proceed without having the data to back up our actions. Remember New Coke?
As the calendar year winds down, it always a good idea to take a step back to revisit and refresh your marketing. We did it last year and it resulted in significant changes to our market positioning. And, we’re better off by doing so. How about you?
It’s always a good idea to take a step back and be more introspective about your unique qualities and strengths. By looking beyond short-term distractions, we often discover that we still have a place to fit in.
You seem to be great at what you do. You have a terrific product. Your media coverage has been impressive. You’ve been serving the industry for decades. But, what does it mean to your customers? What’s in it for me?