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 her 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.