4. Be Flexible/adaptable in business
The respondents were unanimous on this: You have to be able to respond quickly to market and business conditions, if you are to remain in business, even before you can think about growing.
In other words, you have to be flexible and or adaptable in your business. However, here is the problem.
You were planning this business for a long time. So you did your market research. You established your business model and you opened your doors to business.
And then you only get a trickle of customers, instead of the flood you anticipated.
Everything tells you that you have to be flexible and make some adjustments fast. But you activate the fear factor. You go into denial and you shut out everything that is contrary to what you have done. You are now suffering from a bad case of commitment bias.
I can declare myself a firsthand expert on this.
I once had a candy business (Yes Me!). Before I started it, I did what I believe to be extensive market research. Then I got help from my Business Consultant friend, who brought here Business Analyst on board. As a matter fact, we were quite the business group.
Based on the number of schools in the area and several other relevant factors, we were sure that my target market should be children between the ages of 5 – 13, their parents and teachers.
When the business opened, I soon realized that we were sooo wrong about my ideal customers and products!
They turned out to be young men between the ages of 19 - 25, who bought gifts of sweets for their girlfriends, grandmothers and all the other women in their lives. And a ton of almond nuts for themselves since these are high in the cancer-fighting agent magnesium (according to them).
These particular customers were not even on my radar. So, I convinced myself that this was just a fad and the customer base I had envisioned and planned for, will show up.
I eventually changed my business model but sad to say, it was too late for the business turnaround to be successful.
Being flexible does not mean you are not true to yourself and your business like my girlfriend believes. Rather, for example, it can mean recognizing changes in customer preferences. And when you do, you put the business structure or the production methods in place to readily respond to these.
Being flexible determines:
- how, and how fast you generate more sales
- the speed at which you can lower your operating costs
- how you make more productive use of your time
- the way you strengthen ties with your customers and your team.
It's just one of the powerful business solutions you can ever implement.
5. Learn how to be truly productive
For the average small business owner, being CEO in your business really means you are Chief EVERYTHING Officer.
The problem is, you usually you don’t have the confidence, the money or the know-how to either outsource or delegate certain of your management or operations functions. You especially wish you did not have to plan and attend meetings.
So you end up having to do many things at once and by yourself. that means you work long hours, with very unsatisfactory results and a whole lot of frustration to show for it.
Listen carefully...multi-tasking does not equal increased productivity. Neither does “I’m so busy!” mean that you’re productive either. To me they suggest that you’re just not focused.
Each of the entrepreneurs I interviewed has a set of “productivity” habits or approaches which they have developed and refined over time, and which they consistently apply to their businesses.
You should follow this example!
As part of your plan to increase your productivity, learn the skill(s) you need to do the things you need to do.
I’m amazed that ICT and computers are such a part of our lives and many people still cannot type, do not understand the fundamentals of the technology and therefore cannot leverage it to improve their business.
For me being productive means having an efficient productivity system that enables me to reach my goals in the shortest possible time. That’s why I developed my COPE Productivity System which allows me to do just that.
It almost goes without saying that as a dependable business solution, being truly productive will sky-rocket your business success.