But the key to being able to successfully compete and grow lies in flexibility--adapting your strategy to changing business conditions. Regardless of your industry, the marketplace changes all the time, and you cannot afford to stick to the same plan from which your business grew. Reviewing and adjusting your business philosophy as captured in your business plan when necessary is the only way to meet and satisfy your customers' needs. Your business plan is a living document that evolves with time to ensure your venture adapts and keeps pace with the dynamic marketplace.
Factors to consider
There are several factors that may cause a business to make changes.
Competition: You may be forced to change your marketing strategy due to the entrance of a new competitor into the market.
Technology: New gadgets and software are churned out almost constantly. A business plan may need to change to keep up with innovation.
Regulations: Changes in government regulations can significantly impact the way your company does business. From safety and environmental procedures to quality control measures, businesses have to implement several policies to be in compliance and, though these are usually for the benefit of the consumer, they often incur an extra cost to the proprietor of the business.
Growth and efficiency: Attaining growth and streamlining operations for increased efficiency may require a radical game plan change. Lean production and management as a way to cut waste may require an overhaul of the production process. Overall, the business plan for the organization needs to be updated to accommodate newer concepts geared toward process efficiency and profitability.
Here are some essential concepts worth considering as you embark on re-engineering the strategies that drive your business in a dynamic marketplace.
Analyze the current market situation: While performing a market analysis, evaluate what changes have occurred and how they interfere with your overall mission. If your business is in a service industry, consider new services that have emerged. Identify what other competing products manufacturers have released. Consider the needs of your customers and appreciate how they have changed over time. Conduct research online or in major stores distributing your products to gain insight into what resonates with the customer.
Analyze your competitors' activities to fully comprehend what additional measures need to be put in place to meet your customers' needs. Stay abreast of prevailing economic and technological conditions that impact your business niche.
Embrace and adjust to change: Reputation and quality service are vital facets of your business as you continue to put your clients first and establish trust. Often, you must conform to the wishes of your customers for a healthy bottom-line. Be prepared to adjust; it is not easy to shift from what you have come to deem as the norm, but it may be the only suitable option. Be open to ideas on how to embrace changes in the marketplace. Look for ways to adapt rather than avoid the change. Ensure that your plan is flexible by setting goals in bits, which can be reviewed regularly to ensure efficiency.
The secret to adapting to change is to closely observe what is happening in the marketplace, treat your target customers as a priority, and pay attention to your competitors.
Obtain the requisite skills: If adaptation requires certain skills, build them before your competitors do so that you are better placed to serve the customer. Attend seminars, buy books, or look for resources online to help you build the skills needed. If you are fast enough to embrace change, chances are you will retain your customers and earn others in the process.
Rebrand: Branding is arguably one of the most effective methods to update and change your business, and may increase users' perceived value of your existing product or service and rejuvenate growth. Determine whether the new branding scheme for your products or service will appeal more to your target audience, better represent the personality of your target group, and increase your credibility with the market. Will the new brand credibility will last for at least the next couple of years?
Satisfy your customers' needs: Understand your market and provide the most reliable, cost-effective, high-quality products or services possible. Listen to feedback from your customers and make the necessary changes in order to retain them. Let the customers feel that they can depend on your business and its products.
Adapting a business plan to a changing marketplace is not always easy for an entrepreneur with fixed goals. In order to embrace the evolving marketplace, you should be willing to learn new things and make pertinent adjustments in your business plan. Success depends on how you identify new opportunities and continually adapt to change so that you conquer new ground and stay on top of the game.
*This blog was originally published on The UPS Store Small Business Solutions Site.