5 Business Strategies to Maintain Your Competitive Advantage

Congratulations! You have launched and/or scaled your business, which is an accomplishment in itself. Yet the work is far from over. Competition is a common phenomenon in business just as survival is in the wild. You will experience many road blocks on a daily basis. To keep a clear direction, focus on these 5 business strategies to maintain your competitive advantage: Refine your target market We all have heard that people do business with people they know, like and trust. Yet to grow your business, you have to attract, convert and close new customers that do not know you and have no reason to trust you. “Anyone interested in my services” is too general of a statement. By targeting a specific audience, you are not excluding people, rather focusing your resources and energies at a higher level to attract a market that is more likely to buy from you than any others. Understand the 80-20 rule When looking at your competitive advantage, you inevitably compare your products and performance to those of your competitors. Yet spinning your wheels searching for all the ways that you are “better” will not advance you very far. Your distinction is not defined by your competitors but by your best customers. These 20% vital few are the customers for whom you made a difference, for whom you were the only answer. Find who they are and learn from them who you really are. Don’t race to the bottom To grow their market share, small businesses often sacrifice their revenues by undervaluing their products/services to reach a wider audience. Such tactic requires patience and a...

Small Business: 3 Signs You Need a New Strategy

Uncertainty of the Future Whether you own an established business or a startup, the day-to-day hustle of running a business can send your intentions to oblivion. With fires to put out in every corner, you are drawn into a reactive state of mind that you carry with you into the next day, week and year. With a coherent strategy, your company will have identifiable business objectives and a specific set of tasks to fulfill them, putting control back into your hands. Objectives are used to develop short to long-term growth and productivity plans, essential for the sustained success of your organization.   Lack of Accountability Every single problem is dumped onto your desk. From front line employees to middle management, they identify the problems and expect you to come up with the solutions. Yet they argue about why your solutions will not work. Business strategy creates an environment and culture where people are empowered to think for themselves, develop their own solutions and work together to implement them, owning and accepting accountability for their implementation. Also, leaders invested in a strategic planning have greater internal focus and are less likely to let outside factors and influences negatively weigh them down. With their strong belief that outcomes are not outside their control, leaders take responsibility for their actions and people are more willing to support and follow.   Lack of Time How many times a day do you say, “I don’t have time” or “I don’t have enough time”? Lack of time is a common problem that plagues small business owners. A business plan and strategy will allow you to...

What a Chess Grandmaster Can Teach You About Solving Problems

What a Chess Grandmaster Can Teach You About Solving Problems How do you go about solving problems? My father grew up playing chess in his native Philippines, where the game is hugely popular. He became fairly skilled, and even won a few tournaments after immigrating to the U.S. Of course he was eager to teach me, his firstborn son, the rules of the...
3 Strategies to Make a Financial Difference in Your Business

3 Strategies to Make a Financial Difference in Your Business

Business owners and executives have long sought ways to improve their bottom line. Usually their energy is focused on how they can attract more customers to generate additional sales. However, working strategically is the key to immediately boosting the bottom line. Business strategy is not only about how to be more profitable tomorrow but also how to immediately march more dollars into your business and onto your balance sheet! These tactics will help your business grow in any kind of economic climate, recessionary or otherwise. Here are 3 Strategies to improve your bottom line today: Implement or Upgrade Your Systems and Processes. Systems and procedures are put in place to keep companies on course toward their profitability goals and to minimize surprises along the way. They provide a clear and consistent blueprint for how business is done on a daily basis and how decisions are made. Inefficient systems and processes are costly in terms of dollars, waste, rework, delays, resource utilization, whereas ineffective ones are pricey as well because they are not reliable. They don’t do what they are supposed to do. The first step is to go back to the fundamentals: ‘why’, ‘what’, ‘who’, ‘where’, ‘when’ and ‘how’ questions. The first question about any process/action is, why do it at all? Often many steps exist simply because of the status quo: ‘We have always done it that way’. The second question might be, why do we do it this way? Then, what is being done? What should be done? What can be done? When should it happen? And so forth. The second step is to not only look...

This Tiny Alaskan Company Is the General Motors of Dogsleds

This Tiny Alaskan Company Is the General Motors of Dogsleds On a winter day in Fairbanks, Alaska, blankets of fog hold pollution to the ground: ice crystals suspended in the polar air. It’s a phenomenon that settlers called the “white death.” Though the sun stays up for just four hours, David Klumb’s days are...