Are You Relevant?
In the wild kingdom, animals that have learned to quickly adapt are the ones that survive. The same goes for business. The world used to be a more simple place where businesses sold products or services and people had fewer choices. In today's market, if you cannot stay relevant by constantly adapting and staying ahead of the game, you will vanish. The question is are you relevant, but to stretch your imagination you should ask an additional question: will you be relevant in five years?
The ever increasing speed of business requires a different mindset. It is common for businesses to focus on the practical and far less on the social and emotional aspect of their offerings. The constant bombarding of commercial marketing has hardened people to the traditional sales and marketing techniques. Even more so, customers have an array of options to choose from. This leads to the loss of business with a simple slip of service or product quality, or interaction with another organization that can provide the same product or service at a cheaper rate or slightly higher quality.
To stay relevant and prevent loss of existing business you need to be closely connected to your customers' needs, you must understand the cause of their needs and how their needs change in time. Relevance requires creativity and innovation, but you may find it difficult to allocate time and energy to this when you are bogged down by the business routine. Here are some steps to lead you in the right direction:
Focus on the customer. You cannot be everything to everyone. However, you can be very relevant to all the people in need of your product or service. Find out which aspect of your marketing is effective by segmenting your customers into smaller categories (i.e. gender, age, company size, geography, etc.). Tap into these segments to discover ways you can enhance your offering to add value. Stay alert for ways you can add intangible (thinking, sensing, values, and community) value in collaboration with your existing service or product.
Make learning and ideas part of your company culture. Involve all within your organization in the incubation, acceleration and transition phases of innovative adaptations. Encourage sparks of imagination from all levels. Because change is ongoing, it is far better to have 20 minds seeking ways to improve, adapt, and trim system waste.
Plan the scale and make it parallel. Maintaining your existing core business is critical during an implementation. Ensure that you are successful by properly scaling your new plan and introducing it to the market in parallel with your current model.
Customers expect superior execution and the slightest slip could be the end of your relationship. That is why adapting, knowing the source of your customers' needs, and adding value is so important. Staying relevant gives meaning to your customers and establishes a more meaningful, longer lasting, and more profitable relationship.
April Salsbury, MBA is a strategist, an analyst, an operational guru, a recognized leader and C-suite global healthcare executive with drive and focus for competitive markets. Co-host of The Business Forum Show and regular contributor to various business journals, she possess multi-functional and multi-national competencies with more than 15 years experience in business and healthcare. Her expertise is in invigorating revenue growth and infusing value of lean practices in growing companies through improvements to cash flow and operations management.
Fueling revenue, growth and profit, Salsbury & Co. is a consultancy firm focused on helping businesses and healthcare organizations achieve excellency. Our specialists have executive experience combined with deep functional expertise to provide our clients with services that drive real impact and results.
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