Every major business that has ever existed was once a growth business. The reason why their growth stopped or slowed down was not because the market was saturated. It is because there has been a failure in management. Failure always flows from the top down. If your business growth has slowed down, ask yourself this question: “What business am I really in?”
I have shared this story in the past but it is worthwhile repeating. The story is that of the railroad industry. At one point in time, the railroad industry was considered a very major growth industry. In Europe, a company called Wagon-Lits-Cook had its name on many of the railroad cars. Railroads moved people and goods throughout most of the civilized world. As an industry, management thought that it had the future locked up; when asked what business they were in the answer was “railroad business”.
By not thinking about the real nature of their business, they lost their opportunity to grow and diversify. Management never figured out that they were really in the transportation business until it was too late.
As a small business owner you should view your business as one that has a customer-satisfying process, not one that delivers products and services. All businesses should begin with knowing their customer (target market) and his or her needs.
The following are several assumptions which can stop growth:
- Increasing population will ensure our continued growth. In this situation, the owner concentrates on doing better than their rivals instead of focusing on customer needs.
- We have no rivals in our industry. Don’t count on it; somewhere there is a start-up business, maybe working out of a garage that is focusing on customer needs.
- By streamlining our processes we can produce more products and services. The result is that the needs of the company are looked after instead of the needs of the customer.
- Technology is playing a major role in almost every business. the unfortunate part is that the time devoted to updating our technology to provide the same products and services in a better fashion , once again, does not look at the needs of the customer base.
Change is the only constant in the life of a business. Identify your real business and continually be on the lookout for that next thing to evolve that can better service your customers.
Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past are certain to miss the future.
John F. Kennedy
There is a change in the way you learn, grow and excel in your business and it’s coming the 2nd quarter of 2013. Get ready, be the first to know about it. Subscribe to this blog at www.strategicduck.com and receive the first notification.
Nick J. Petra CFP