Friday, June 5, 2009

Are You Making This Grave Mistake In Your Business?

The single greatest opportunity for your business to prosper (yes, even now) awaits... are you blowing it?

Dramatic changes in economic sentiment and wholesale rewrites of entire industry structures leave a lot of chaos in their wake. That chaos is, for most of us, uncomfortable. For some it is very negative, dramatically changing the course of their lives, while for others it only leaves them confused and uncertain but otherwise relatively unscathed (when viewed objectively).

The gravest mistake I see, in businesses which are otherwise perfectly reasonable ones to be in still, is too much of an inward focus. Businesses do not exist to and will never prosper when they focus on themselves. Your business exists to create value for your customers. In both good times and bad there are customers for all manner of products and services.

You may need to tweak your present offerings. Or reach out to your customers in ways that you have not had to in the past. You may need to connect with them in ways that are relevant to the conversations they are already having in their minds.

In some cases, depending on what your value add to the world is, that may mean reminding them about what's going on while giving them a different perspective on the situation. In other cases your job may actually be to save them from all the doom and gloom.... by helping them escape from it even if it is just for a brief bit of time. Only your own capabilities intersecting with your chosen customers can determine where on the spectrum your positioning should fall.

The single greatest corollary of the above also presents business owners with a tremendous opportunity. It is one of the most ubiquitous yet largely untapped opportunities to be seen in a long time. It spans across industries, has nothing to do with technology, and hits at the core of what successful businesses should already - and always - be doing anyhow: connecting with and adding value to their customers lives.

This is always a goal, of any business. Yet, especially in so-called "good times", it is easy to get complacent and simply focus on what is in front of you, what is handed to you -- on the customers that just seem to fall into your lap.

But there are always more customers out there. In good times you are leaving a lot on the table but just don't realize it. And in bad times you want a larger share of what is normally left behind.

The key is to get your marketing, relationship building, product, service, and offer development efforts, and other keys to value adding aligned. By doing this in good times as well as bad times, natural business cycles flatten out more and even under very poor economic conditions things are bearable.

The point being that those who are able to not be paralyzed by recent economic turmoil and use it as an opportunity to build a stronger foundation for their businesses will also be more profitable in good times. Survival is important and prospering remains possible with the right foundation.

The world has not ended. It has simply changed albeit dramatically (at least on the short time spans most of us view things under).

Get moving. But hurry... you're running out of time to capitalize on this opportunity!


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