So far we’ve had three New Years’ Resolutions for your business, and each of them has been tailored very specifically towards the way you think about and approach your business. Now I want you to take the time to analyze not just your business, but also your business environment.
As a turnaround professional, I know how fast things can change in business. A new competitor can enter the marketplace, seizing a large percentage of your market share in a matter of weeks or months. By undercutting prices, getting better arrangements with vendors, capturing a few large clients/customers or offering something you’re not, competitors can be ferocious.
Rather than live in fear, however, there are some steps you can take to minimize the impact of competitors on your business, at least as a surprise. First, if your business relies too heavily on a “Big Gorilla,” (that is, a single customer or client), make sure that you either diversify, determine what you can do absolutely best for this customer/client and do it, or ensure that there are legal reasons this customer/client is bound to you.
In addition, don’t compromise on routine competitive research to regularly evaluate the marketplace and business landscape. Consider having a full time employee whose job it is to research the products you offer, who else offers them, at what prices and with what conditions, what vendors they use, where they’re located, what their growth looks like and more. If you use the Internet to do a lot of business, consider the tool Spy Fu.
You must know your competition, and you must know them well. Consistently investigate your competition and what your competitors are doing. You never know when a flailing business will be ready to be bought out by a ready and poised you. But you’ll never know if you aren’t researching the competition.
As you plan for the New Year, consider what a great time it is to take a look at your competition in order to incorporate any new information into your planning and self-evaluations.
Monitoring your competition isn’t the only thing you should do to watch your business environment. If you’re in an industry subject to regulation, keep your eyes out for any new legislation as the clock tics towards 2012.
What are you doing to stay apprised of your business environment?