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The greatest challenge facing any dynamic tech enterprise trying to grow its business, is to first ensure that the organisation is operating at peak efficiency – in effect is ‘fit for purpose’ and ready to make the most of opportunities.
This is easy to say – but harder to achieve, though certainly worth the effort in any fiercely competitive market place.
A business re-boot takes enthusiasm and commitment to achieve – it will entail a thorough examination of your entire business but an excellent way to kick start the process is to first look at the following five key actions.
Sharpening Decision Making
Every day brings a host of business decisions – strategic, tactical, reactive, proactive, go/no go etc – for a small dynamic enterprise it should be easier to make rapid decisions with a compact executive team but often this is not the case! Poor decision-making can severely hamper your business leading to lost opportunities, lower customer perceptions, bad service, confusion and loss of momentum.
So, why not:
- Clearly establish who your key decision makers are. (who, when & for what?)
- Structure your decision-making requirements – map your business operations – look for decision choke points, duplications and dead ends.
- Clarify & streamline your decision-making channels.
- Differentiate between domestic, tactical and strategic issues.
- Operate a ‘triage’ system to separate urgent response issues from the less important and routine.
- Record & communicate important decisions – keep the team on board.
- Revisit & review key decisions – learn from the process.
Shaping Your Vision
Every business had a vision to start with – the reason why you started your enterprise and why you get up in the morning. However, visions like good intentions often get mislaid when things get busy!
But no business moves forward in the right direction if there’s not an underpinning vision – so dig it out, dust it off and keep it in sight.
Revisit your vision:
- Is it still relevant to your current operations?
- Is it practical/achievable?
- Do the team still share a common view?
- Can it be modified/adapted to current circumstances?
- Does it really underpin your business, your brand values?
- Does it drive your strategy and marketing?
- Do you communicate it successfully to your workforce, customers & the marketplace?
Streamlining your business
Without a clear strategic outlook, it’s easy to confuse continual product/service diversification and hyperactive marketing/sales activity with structured and profitable growth.
As a tech business grows it needs to take time out to look at exactly what it does best, identify where its most profitable market opportunities lie and what, based on its expertise and resources it can best offer its customers.
Audit your activities & offerings:
- How do you position yourself in the market?
- Do your products /services reflect this?
- Are you making the best out of your human capital – people, roles & expertise?
- What are your brand values – creativity, reliability, innovation, value etc?
- Who are your existing customers – sectors, industries etc?
- Are you making the most of these markets and customers?
- Are there comparable markets – transferable expertise, adaptable products?
- Qualify your products & services – profitable, loss making, treading water, potential stars?
- Cull your products/services if necessary – apply commercial sense not sentiment.
- Make marketing decisions based on knowledge not wishful thinking.
Adding value to your product & services
Being complacent after success is a sad fact – sales are good, products seem to meet customer expectations and new ideas are in the pipeline.
However, you can always do more to enhance your customers’ experience. Adding value can increase sales, boost customer confidence, encourage repeat business and increase profits.
Consider adding value by:
- Making the customer purchasing process easier.
- Exploring more flexible payment options.
- Offering superb customer service.
- Making quality your byword – people, products and processes.
- Generating informative and supportive product literature.
- Being creative with packaging & promotional materials.
- Building & promoting your brand, engaging more with your customer base and market sector.
- Becoming knowledgeable -the ‘go to’ experts in your field.
- Offering seminars, workshops, advice & support to your market sectors.
- Getting published – articles, blogs, social media etc
Identifying and Exploiting Market Opportunities
This is the lifeblood of any successful enterprise and in the dynamically competitive technology markets – even more crucial.
The key here is to transport your organisation beyond its particular comfort zone – to be calm, observant, flexible and ready to react quickly and decisively.
Ideally you already have an effective marketing machine in place?
If not, then this needs remedial action to achieve a balanced marketing stance but beyond this it becomes more to do with opening minds to possibilities, exploiting openings and proactively exploring new ground.
Think on your feet by:
- Constantly trying to think outside the box.
- Building up an up to date, comprehensive knowledge of your marketplace.
- Noting trends, innovations & competitor moves/successes.
- Looking for product/solution gaps in your own sector.
- Exploring extensions/adaptations to your products/services.
- Comparing other sector’s needs to your own market requirements – transferable solutions, related technological solutions?
- Constantly review your pricing structure – exploit competitor rigidity.
- Update your customer feedback – perceived value, expectations & satisfactions.
- Be flexible – adapt your offerings to where the demand exists now.
- Become more proactive – prod, poke and test the market without overextending your capabilities.
The tips outlined above are by no means exhaustive and certainly don’t cover every aspect of a comprehensive company re-boot but hopefully they will help you to stop and think whether your tech business is developing along the right lines for future growth.
To learn more about successfully scaling a business, come along to The Jonas Group’s free seminar on 14th December in Paddington – for more information, visit http://jonasseminars.com/