A small business owner was battling in a shopping centre where the demographics had gradually change. Instead of running a full men and women’s wear retail store, he came up with the idea to reconvert it into a smaller, focused store that caters for school clothing. He has also narrowed the range of clothing to six or seven schools. Within a year the business is doing well and the business owner has put it on a new, surer footing.
Start-ups and small business owners need to come up with new ideas all the time not only for new products and services but also new ways of positioning their business, locating their operations and responding to competition. But if they’ve got urgent problems they need to attend to them urgently.
Operational problems can eat into your time and leave you with little opportunity to build your business for the future.
Your business may be suffering from day-to-day problems because you don’t have an opportunity to address the bigger picture:
— suppliers who want payment help
– customers who take 90 days to pay
– customers who scream at your service
– employees who don’t give their hundred percent effort
– slow or declining sales
– cash flow that is shrinking up faster than you anticipated
Businesses with creative capital are able to ride through the rough, anticipate challenges and opportunities sooner rather than living from crisis to crisis. Slow sales, declining sales, increased customer complaints and staff jumping ship – are all signs that things are not working as they should.
What can you do?
It all starts with finding ways to give customers greater value. Any ideas that you come up with for changes and improvements in your business must have a high impact on your customers. The question to ask yourself is: What’s the one thing I could do in my business that would have a big impact on increasing value for my customers?
When you come up with ideas that help grow your business quickly, you start to give your business a new energy and vitality that is essential in a competitive marketplace.
New market conditions bring new challenges. You need to apply new thinking and ideas to find out how you are going to respond to change. Increasing customer value is one area. But another is increasing your sales. Yet another is focusing on reducing your costs, especially when energy prices (including fuel and electricity) are rising. Staff costs may be rising too. With all the larger companies taking up the best employees how are you going to attract and keep skilled people?
Coming up with new ideas, new approaches, new strategies and even new marketing plans are useless without resources. Yes, you can do some things with little or no cost but mostly you will require funding to make important changes. Unless you have retained earnings for future development, you are going to be hard pressed to find immediate cash when your business is perhaps on its knees. That’s why it pays to build up a cash kitty or cash pot to finance important changes when you need them most.
In this economy, as we battle through from day to day we are hoping for the breakthrough. But breakthroughs don’t come knocking on your door. Nor do they happen when you have a shortage of new ideas in your business. The breakthrough comes to the one who researches, listens, observes, generates new ideas, plans and implements. Breakthroughs follow when bright ideas are supported with capital and people and executed flawlessly.