With election season upon us, it is easy to feel uncertain or nervous about our future. It’s not that I anticipate doomsday, but rather, change in any form can be difficult. It is the fear of change or entering the unknown that has hamstrung businesses and left executives to proclaim, “We have always done it this way, and we are not going to change now.” Those same, change-resistant companies are the ones that shutter when their revenues begin to falter, and they discover that once loyal customers have moved on to more novel or innovative solutions. In hindsight, they realize their error, but it is often too late because another company has filled the gap. I have seen this happen to countless companies, and it is likely that you have too. Change is risky, but what often gets lost in translation is that stagnation is even riskier. The simple truth is this: If your company isn’t growing, its decaying. Nonetheless, we like to look on the bright side. If your company is in stagnation or decay mode, there is still time to reverse course. Here are some practical steps to accelerate growth.
Capitalizing on Emerging Trends: Virtually every market has an ancillary emerging market which is in its early stages of development. In the medical field, an emerging space is Functional Medicine. For those who are not familiar, Functional Medicine is, in essence, a personalized healthcare approach which treats the whole body versus the disease or the ailment. Functional Medicine is a great example of an emerging market within the medical field. It largely sits outside of the traditional medical field, but traditional practitioners have the opportunity to incorporate or add functional medicine practices, principles and treatments into their business model. That doesn’t mean that they abandon their core business, but rather, they dedicate a small number of resources to capitalizing on the emerging market opportunities. The same applies to your business. Look at your industry from a fresh perspective, and see what new trends are emerging. They exist, I assure you. You just have to find them. Augmenting your business with emerging opportunities affords diversification, growth, and ancillary revenue without jeopardizing your core business.
Embrace Technology: Investing in technology is a particularly difficult for small and medium business owners because of the financial burden associated. However, it is often the manual tasks that eat up your team’s productivity, driving additional time and increasing expenses. Moreover, these manual tasks also hinder revenue. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen a talented sales person completing pipeline reports, projections and other sales reports manually. That equates to lost sales and customer time as well as one frustrated sales professional. The same applies to email marketing systems and other technological advances. Yes, they often come with a high cost, but they more than pay for themselves based on the efficiencies and improved customer experience. Rather than put off investing in technology, embrace it. You will be glad that you did.
Push the Boundaries: When was the last time you did something really big, bold, and different in your professional career? If it has been while, it is time to shake yesterday’s confines loose and think big. In these innovative days, customers expect new innovations, experiences, and improved products and services. In fact, many customers are demanding it. Look at your industry, and determine what void needs to be filled. Investigate what nagging problem needs to be solved. See what everyone wants to do but is too afraid to do, and do it. First to market is always the place to be. It reaps rewards for years to come, and it positions your company as a thought leader. Plus, it’s fun. Think of the fun you will have taking the best and brightest from your team and solving a real problem for your customers. That not only fuels your team and revenue growth, but it creates customer loyalty.
The truth of the matter is that stagnation is a result of lacking confidence or courage. Every business experiences it. Only the great ones decide to change course and take advantage of the endless opportunities that surround businesses today. Jump in, the water feels great.