Sunday, October 11, 2009
How to not Become a Dinosaur.
Given the current economic conditions any business has to be concerned about their viability and survival. Doing the same things you have always done is no longer insurance that tomorrow will come. Although I was an accidental entrepreneur at our company's beginning in 1984 I have gained significant road tread through experience and some rough times. Every business goes through cycles and there is a lot that can be learned when in a down cycle.
Tip # 1: Knowledge & Skills ='s Value: For many companies in the service industry your knowledge and skills give you power. Don't underestimate the value of the knowledge and skill set you hold. It is imperative that you are able to translate this knowledge and skills into value. Ask yourself, "What are we really offering, here? What are you bringing to the party? How does what you know create value, concretely?"
Tip # 2: Define your market and focus on what what they need, value and are ready to write a check for.
Tip # 3: Adapt and Evolve or go the route of extinction. I am not suggesting that you throw your mission statement out with the bath water but that you re examine this statement in light of current realities. Businesses must have the ability to respond to and adapt to the changing environment and systems impacting it.
It is easy to get caught up in the daily grind, routines and rituals involved in the operation of your business and miss the big picture. One must understand reality and make the adjustments that will respond to new needs of your changing market/clients.
Tip # 4: Stay abreast of all the new developments in your field. Also be aware of the competition and how you can successfully compete. Don't bury your head in the sand. Maintain your passion and belief in the product you offer and how you deliver it. Know how you are different and don't be afraid to share with prospective clients.
Tip # 5: Learn how to Play Small Ball. We are living in a time when stores like Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue are struggling to stay afloat. People are spending less on luxury items and demanding value. At American Nanny Company we have been very successful with our introduction of A La Carte services, an option that allows clients to purchase smaller and less expensive service options around their search for a nanny. We can no longer afford to ignore the impact of computerized online services,Craig's list and professional networks with nanny lists. The " do it yourself" movement is here and we have found ways to serve this burgeoning population in meaningful ways. Mike Scoccia's Angel's embody the principle of playing small ball and have gotten to the ALCS with this approach.
Tip #6: Add new services that are logical extensions of what you have been providing. Think out of the box and beyond borders for inspiration. You have your reputation and experience to bank on and will be very credible.
Tip #7: Understand how to use Social Networking and the Internet for creating a community, enhancing your reputation by offering your expertise and hopefully, earning some new clients and in our case, great candidates for our positions.
Tip # 8: Don't be afraid to ask for client feedback. Many people vote with their feet and not their mouths. Do exit interviews with those who have not used your service as well as those who have.
Tip # 9: If you are in a service business, serve, serve, and serve some more. Be generous, attentive, diligent and proactive.Always give what is promised and follow through. Exceed client expectations and your name and brand will be out there and persist through the ups and downs of economic cycling.
Tip # 10: Ask yourself if you would use your own service and if so, why?
There are countless tips that are not included here. Would welcome ideas from others who are doing all that they can to stay afloat in the last quarter of 2009. I love my business and consider it my third child. Hopefully, we will survive and continue helping families maintain balance in their lives. We care deeply about children and parents.