Friday, July 23, 2010

How to Position your Business to be Successful in today's rapidly changing economy

How to Position Your Business to be successful in today’s rapidly changing economy

Why do so many companies in Puerto Rico or anywhere else continue to operate the way companies did twenty years ago?
The world has changed. It is a totally different world and it is changing faster than at any time in history.
You must face that fact and deal with it.
Technology is one of the biggest factors responsible for this change. It has altered the way we communicate with each other, how we learn new information, travel, shop and even how we play.
The phrase “this is the way we always done it” is now blasphemous. Things are done differently now and they will not go back to the way they were done before. As my friend and technology guru Terry Brock, says, “It is almost like there is a missile targeted for your business. The missile is called change. It is programmed by your competitors who are doing innovative things you don’t even know about. Terry and I saw each other this past weekend in Orlando where I had the privilege of being one of the keynote speakers. If you want to laugh at a one minute clip my daughter took at the beginning of my speech, go to and in the search box write “the marshmallow stars”. Make sure you put it in quotation marks.
Terry is an advocate of free markets. He was telling some of his clients that the only places you find communism embraced today are places like North Korea and Cuba and they are in a very serious economic situation. Yet, you take a look at the world economic statistics and you will find that the countries that have a free market economy are the most successful ones.
Adam Smith would be proud.
Mr. Brock discussed some of the trends emerging in this fast paced world.
1. Consumer is King. More than ever this is true. A consumer can cross-shop quickly and easily to find the best prices between vendors. Geographical differences are dissolving rapidly. 2. Value reigns supreme. You have to offer significant value that your competitors can't. Is your Website just a mere banner touting how good YOU think you are? Get real! If the consumer doesn't find solid value in your Website, they'll click away faster than from site pleading for money!
3. Speed is the life blood of today's digital economy. Overnight is too slow in many cases. Your customers want and expect speed. A recent survey by Georgia Tech indicated that people want Websites to be fast and secure more than anything else. It must also be well designed. Take a quick look at my site, model it and you will do well.
4. The customer is no longer stupid. This has been the hope and philosophy for far too many businesses in the past. From insurance salespeople to used car dealerships they have counted on the fact that you, as a consumer, didn't have time to check into every possible option. Now with the Net, you can check out lots of options and they don't even have to be in Puerto Rico. Welcome to the 21st Century! It just got here a bit early!
5. Things are different now. An old phrase used in sales meetings goes like this: "If you keep on doing what you've already done, you'll keep on getting what you've already got." In an environment when things are changing constantly, that is no longer true. What brought you to your current level of success will not necessarily be what takes you to the next level. Be willing to change rapidly and decisively.
What can you do? How should you prepare to chance? Here are Terry’s suggestions
1. Re-evaluate your technology every six months. This is the minimum. With prices dropping, new technology advancing and old paradigms being thrown out the window, you have to examine the new horizon regularly. Lean heavily on technology while embracing time-honored principles of human care and concern.
2. Forget glitz. Provide value. As it is true with your Website, it should be true with your product. Find what your customers value and provide that. All else is irrelevant.
3. Be creative. Don't just think outside the box. Think inside AND outside. Jump back and forth to get the best approach for your customers. Think of innovative ways to get the job done.
4. Develop all your systems (technical, people, administrative, marketing, etc.) to respond faster and more thoroughly to your customers' satisfaction.
5. Efficiency and Effectiveness are not enough. You have to be markedly innovative and different from the competition in order to stand out in today's world. Compete in a different way. Edison didn't set out to build a better candle. He changed the industry. Your biggest threat is not necessarily a more efficient competitor. It is that business that is coming up with a completely different way of doing what you have been doing. The worst part is that they are probably not in your industry now and you don't even think of them as a competitor.
6. Change your company along the lines of what you do best and not what you have done. Think of different ways that your core competencies can be re-packaged and offered to customers in innovative ways that they value.
7. Stretch yourself. We grow best as human beings when we have a goal. Psychologist Denis Waitley says we have to have a goal that is "Within sight but out of reach." Challenge yourself to go farther than you have before. The 21st Century is already here in many ways. We are facing a wonderful time of change, adventure and prosperity as never before. However, it is not perfect. We have to adapt to new ways of doing things.
Because if we don’t adapt my dear readers, we will not be in business for long.
To contact Terry Brock, visit his web site at