Perhaps the greatest challenge facing any young tech company trying to grow its business, is to ensure that the enterprise is operating to the best of its ability – efficient, dynamic and prepared to make the most of market opportunities.
Reasonable goals – but hard to achieve in a competitive marketplace without taking the time to review just what makes your business tick or not as the case may be? A thorough business re-think takes enthusiasm and commitment to achieve – it will require a total re-examination of your entire business operation but an excellent way to kick start the process is to first look at the following five key areas. Scott Saklad, CEO of Jonas Group gives the five key areas.
Put Decision Making First
Business decisions – strategic, tactical, reactive, proactive, go/no go etc. Unavoidable and crucial, making the right decisions at the right time are a recipe for success – so why does the process cause so much angst? You would think that a small dynamic enterprise would find it easier to make rapid decisions but often this is simply not the case! Poor decision-making or worse still procrastination can severely hamper your business leading to lost opportunities, lower customer perceptions, declining service, confusion and loss of direction.
So, why not:
- Clearly establish who your key decision makers are (who, when & for what?)
- Structure your decision-making requirements – map your business operations – look for decision choke points, duplications and dead ends.
- Clarify & streamline your decision-making channels.
- Differentiate between domestic, tactical and strategic issues.
- Operate a ‘triage’ system to separate urgent response issues from the less important and routine.
- Record & communicate important decisions – keep the team on board.
- Revisit & review key decisions – learn from the process.
It’s Your Vision
Remember your business vision? – the original reason why you started your enterprise and why you get up in the morning. However, visions can be fragile things and easy to forget about when things get busy! But no business moves forward in the right direction if there’s not an underpinning vision – so dig it out, dust it off, embrace it and keep it in mind at all times.
Revisit your vision:
- Is it still relevant to your current business?
- Is it practical/achievable?
- Do the team still share a common view?
- Can it be modified/adapted to current circumstances?
- Does it really underpin your business, your brand values?
- Does it drive your strategy and marketing?
- Do you communicate it successfully to your workforce, customers & the marketplace?
Operating at maximum efficiency?
Without a clear strategic outlook, it’s all too easy to confuse product/service diversification and hyperactive marketing/sales activity with structured and profitable growth. As a tech business develops it needs to take time out to look at exactly what it does best, identify its most profitable market opportunities and carefully examine whether based on its expertise and resources, it really is meeting its customers’ needs and expectations.
Audit your activities & offerings:
- How do you position yourself in the market?
- Do your products /services reflect this?
- Are you making the best out of your human capital – people, roles & expertise?
- What are your brand values – creativity, reliability, innovation, value etc?
- Who are your existing customers – sectors, industries etc?
- Are you making the most of these markets and customers?
- Are there comparable markets – transferable expertise, adaptable products?
- Qualify your products & services – profitable, loss making, treading water, potential stars?
- Cull your products/services if necessary – apply commercial sense not sentiment.
- Make marketing decisions based on knowledge not wishful thinking.
Adding value, reaping rewards
What is there to worry about? – sales are good, products seem to meet customer expectations and new ideas are in the pipeline. However, you can always do more to enhance your customers’ experience. Adding value to your products and services can markedly enhance your reputation – increase sales, boost customer confidence, encourage repeat business and increase profits.
Consider adding value by:
- Making the customer purchasing process easier.
- Exploring more flexible payment options.
- Offering superb customer service.
- Making quality your byword – people, products and processes.
- Generating informative and supportive product literature.
- Being creative with packaging & promotional materials.
- Building & promoting your brand, engaging more with your customer base and market sector.
- Becoming knowledgeable -the ‘go to’ experts in your field.
- Offering seminars, workshops, advice & support to your market sectors.
- Getting published – articles, blogs, social media etc
Making The Most Of Market Opportunities
The ability to identify and seize market opportunities is the hallmark of any successful enterprise and a crucial skill to acquire in the dynamically competitive technology market. The key to acquiring this ability is being able to take your organisation beyond its comfort zone – to be calm, observant, flexible and ready to react quickly and decisively. Ideally you already have an effective marketing machine in place ready to quickly exploit opportunities as they present themselves. However, beyond the practicalities, success comes by opening minds to possibilities, exploiting openings and proactively exploring new ground.
Think on your feet by:
- Constantly trying to think outside the box.
- Building up an up to date, comprehensive knowledge of your marketplace.
- Noting trends, innovations & competitor moves/successes.
- Looking for product/solution gaps in your own sector.
- Exploring extensions/adaptations to your products/services.
- Comparing other sector’s needs to your own market requirements – transferable solutions, related technological solutions?
- Constantly review your pricing structure – exploit competitor rigidity.
- Update your customer feedback – perceived value, expectations & satisfactions.
- Be flexible – adapt your offerings to where the demand exists now.
- Become more proactive – prod, poke and test the market without overextending your capabilities.
The above is by no means an exhaustive list of useful tips and certainly doesn’t cover every aspect of a comprehensive company review but hopefully it will help you to stop and think whether your tech business is really meeting its full potential.