Maintaining a competitive edge in business is more important than ever. Infrastructure, vision and investment are all keys to staying ahead of the curve and staying relevant to customers. Success always starts from the inside out, which is why you should work hard to hire the right people, educate them, build an evergreen business model and evolve to meet the needs of your customers.
Hire the Best and Keep Them
It is hard to focus your time and efforts on customer service and your business model if you are constantly dealing with employee turnover. Instead, go to great lengths to hire the very best from the start, and then work hard to retain them. To ensure you are hiring the most knowledgeable and efficient employees, attend networking events, participate in internship programs and offer hiring bonuses to top talent. Once you have a dream team of employees, be sure to manage well, stay organized and always inspire — rather than intimidate — those under your command.
Many business owners spend their money and time investing in marketing and expansion, but infrastructure is key to success. Be sure to value education within your business, taking care to provide your employees with access to continuing education within your field of business. Visit conferences, take courses and even pay for the higher certifications of your existing employees. Your employees will feel more fulfilled professionally, and your investment in their education will improve the quality of your business services.
Be Open to Reinvention
As a business owner, you must be open to reinvention. The same things that worked yesterday may not benefit your business today. As technology accelerates and the age of convenience sets in, you must be willing to re-evaluate your place in your market, as well as the evolving needs of your targeted demographic. A prime example of business reinvention is Blockbuster. The video rental giant was once the leader in movie rentals. After videos became obsolete and consumers began demanding a more easily accessible movie rental experience, Blockbuster changed its business model — capitalizing on its reputable name to vend DVDs from kiosks and their website.
Listen to Your Customers and Clients
Regardless of what type of business you operate or how well you run it, ultimately it’s your clients and customers who determine your success. They are the ones who fund your payroll, keep the lights on and keep you in business. To develop an edge in your market, listen to your customers as they voice their preferences and concerns. If you are the first among your competitors to provide favorable solutions to common complaints, customers and clients will become increasingly loyal to you and recommend your services to other potential clients.
Become More User-Friendly
Provide conveniences that, although not necessarily required to operate your business, make your services seem more user-friendly. An example is creating a smartphone app to increase the appeal of your product and company. Many established companies have created user apps, including Tom Tom’s GPS apps and a host of payment and account tracking apps from private banks.
In order to be competitive, you must be willing to invest in both your customers and your employees. Regardless of what has been effective in the past, you cannot move forward while looking behind you. Listen to the ideas and needs of your customers and employees, and you’ll continue to set the standard among your competitors for years to come.