Generating new business, increasing your profits, or at least maintaining your financial
stability can be challenging during good times, even more so during turbulent times. Here
are some of the strategies you can use to keep forging ahead and not lose growth traction
during a difficult economy
Sometimes there is an obvious path to growth and profitability, but the unintended consequences of your actions may be a trap. Follow that path and your strengths may become your weakness. Growing value and not focusing on price and volume will help prevent you from becoming a commodity.
For me, one of the keys to growth, profitability, and financial stability is not allowing your strengths to become your weaknesses. It’s important to use these strengths as appropriate
but not rely on them to the point of complacency. Sometimes when you overplay that hand, what ends up happening is that you stop at the first right answer. For example, if price is the first right answer, you run the risk of becoming a commodity in the eyes of your customer. Once the conversation moves to price, it becomes a race to the bottom. You must challenge yourself and your people to not stop at the first right answer even though it may be a right answer and, in your strength and comfort zone. You must push through that first right answer to get breakthrough
thinking, especially in challenging times.
I will give you an example. We purchased Mailboxes Etc. and after our extensive research, we rebranded the stores to The UPS Store, and it certainly was and is a great model and brand. One of our strengths was our density with over 3,000 stores. We had great locations and a model entrepreneurs wanted to own, so that clearly was one of our strengths. But we were careful to not solely focus on chasing new stores in their current format. We began to look at non-traditional stores (universities, hotels, etc.) to supplement the growth of traditional stores because we did not want to grow for growth’s sake. We had to push through the current successful growth model, the first right answer.
From a product set, we needed to understand the foundation of our core set of strengths – to understand what differentiated us. We had an excellent brand and great locations. People understood who we were but not what made us better than the competition. We knew strategically we wanted to do more things, like copies, returns, etc. But the differentiator was that we wanted to be small business owners working for small businesses.
We could easily have said, “Hey, we’re getting into the copy space because everyone needs copies, and small businesses, especially need copies.” Instead, we said that we were going to
be small business owners that helped small businesses. With that strategy and subsequent branding, customers could view us as the small business hub, their trusted small business
advisor, vs. a pack and ship location. They could have a mailbox there, and that could be their home or remote office. They could use the fax machines, make copies. If they needed a notary for a signature, we could offer that.
The result was that we started to build a portfolio that was more about small businesses helping small businesses than it was a product that we were selling. Value always helps to move the
discussion from price, which will help you to move from a commodity to a value-added product or service. This approach will work in good times, challenging times, and uncertain times.
We have launched Season 6 of the Leadership Library Podcast, where
we discuss many of these topics.
Have a great 2023 and BE THE ARCHITECT OF YOUR OWN DESTINY
For more information visit our website https://www.3sixtymanagementservices.com/. My book,
Tighten The Lug Nuts, will also serve as a workbook for these important topics and discussions.
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