Published By Janet Gershen-Siegel at June 5th, 2018
What does it mean to operate a company adaptively?
Do you know how to operate your company adaptively? Change can be scary in a company setting. But what if it wasn’t quite so unnerving? What about if, instead, it was the rule? What if the only constant was change? Here are some ways to make change and adaptation your business’s best buddies.
Establishing a company is not for the faint of heart, and if you are not trained to take a loss every once in a while, you most likely will not last. Some of the most successful business people had at least a few failures before they triumphed. You will be in good company if you are one of them.
So keep that in mind when, inevitably, things do not go your way. Failure can hurt your ego, yes. There is no denying that. But at the same time, failure can representation an extraordinary opportunity. It is all in how you mentally frame it.
There are times to let things go. And then there are times to really champion your company. Do you know the difference between these times? Many businesses have learned too late that a never give up frame of mind is the only way to prosper in this cut-throat environment.
These same smaller scale companies are shocked when they are met with the obstacles of unfair regulations, higher taxes or fees, and an over-saturated market. They carry on with business as usual, wishing that the circumstance will pass and things will work themselves out.
A good business owner knows that being passive will rarely end conflict, however. Meeting your challenges head-on is good practice for future difficulties. And it is often the only way to address the most debilitating small business headaches.
It can be dangerous to lose your focus by always thinking about what your competitors are doing. But there is some value in checking the competitive landscape on a regular basis.
Knowing what other companies are doing to keep customers happy and services relevant is not just intelligent – it is absolutely necessary. Get to know many on a first-name basis. As a result, you will have no choice but to keep on trend with the industry you hope to succeed in.
Need to know which company is a reliable supplier? Check out which business your competition uses. Need to get a virtual office? Look at your competitor’s address.
Do you need to put together your website? You may find that checking out your competitors’ websites helps. Either you can see what works – or what not to do.
And one more thing about knowing your competition. As people, that is. You are going to meet them at conferences or at Chamber of Commerce meetings. Or you might both be testifying in front of local government officials for some reason or another. You may even find they want to buy you out.
Or, you want to buy them out.
Many small companies start as family affairs, but this advice is not limited to actual families. There is value in putting fierce dedication at the top of your business plan. Rewarding the longer term workers in your company with promotions and partnerships is not just more effective than introducing an outsider for every single job opening. It can also save you thousands of dollars in training and culture adaptation costs.
Before you do that external search, ask yourself: “Do we already have the best person for the job?”
And there is one more huge bonus to hiring from within – it does a lot for employee morale. Even the people who are passed over can see that it is possible to rise in the ranks.
TL; DR: shop at home for your next company managerial hire.
It is great to set goals to broaden your earnings and become a larger business. But it is foolish to reject the benefits of being a scrappy start-up. In fact, there are just some things that are simpler when you are young.
Errors are simpler to navigate and correct. And new ideas could be implemented without tons of red tape. A lean framework and family culture can also help you be more adaptive to your customer specifications.
In short, do your best to be nimble, no matter how large your business becomes.
It pays to operate a company adaptively.
There may be nothing more irritating to a customer than an unrealized promise. Regrettably, in the time of social media, empty promises may have never been more common. This makes it an ideal age to support your marketing campaign with the type of service and quality offerings you make every effort to be known for.
Forget solely using buzzworthy Facebook ads or the like to develop a legacy. Because deliverables are a clear way to set apart your company in a time when it is just too easy to let customers down.
What is one of the best ways to get repeat business? It is by surprising and delighting your customers and prospects. If you are in an industry which sometimes lets people down, be the dependable company.
Repeat business is vital. It is business which you rarely have to do much advertising for. Adaptively working to impress your customers can save you money later. And, if you are really lucky, your customers can turn into brand evangelists. There is nothing quite like an unsolicited testimonial from a satisfied customer.
And it should go without saying (but I will note it anyway) – treat your satisfied customers extremely well. You do not need to be servile. But be appreciative. And give them the benefit of the doubt. If they tell you that your product was delivered late, believe them!
If your customers are entrusting you with their cash, then you have already done much of the hard work. Make sure to not lose that trust by not continuing to offer value.
Exactly what special add-ons, services, or extras can you effortlessly give that will enhance your customer’s perception of the brand? Take some time to truly analyze why they come to you. And then strive to give them five times that benefit.
Exclusive offers, loyalty clubs, and thank you gifts still work in a time where everyone is competing for repeat business. Conjure up something that is too good to ignore.
Treating your customers in a special way will pay dividends.
Focusing on meaningful work which can propel your business forward. This means considering what your business is going to do today, tomorrow, next year, and even ten years from now. Planning can help you to avoid last minute decisions. This means thinking like one of your customers. And that leads directly to the next tip.
Use data. Seriously. This means collecting it and it means analyzing it. And it means acting on it. What sort of data? Google Analytics has a great, comprehensive (and free!) suite of reports. These can help you see how your SEO is doing. And Facebook also provides robust metrics.
Who is coming to your website? How many people is that? What is drawing them to you? What are they buying? And how much are they spending.
And, if they decide not to buy, what is turning them off?
Those six questions should get you started.
Online metrics are only one piece of the puzzle. This also means working with offline data if your business is not 100% online. But keep in mind, online data is far easier to collect and keep and interpret than data from when you step away from the computer keyboard. Offline data can come from your cash register receipts or how full your sales team’s calendars are.
Or you can have your customers fill out a survey – this is something they can do online as well. And they may very well prefer that.
What brought you here today? Did we meet your expectations? Is there something we do differently? What is our company missing?
Still don’t like change? It is coming anyway. And it is long past time to roll with the punches. Operate your company adaptively – you will be so glad you do! Share this and tell your friends what you think of how to live your best financial life.