One of the surest things besides death and taxes, is the fact that change will occur in your business niche. It’s inevitable.
Markets for products and services evolve over time.
Innovations in products and technology create new markets and make previous products obsolete.
Changes in economics, politics, and consumer appetites constantly force upheaval and “churn” in niches.
It doesn’t matter that you have a successful product or a profitable business right now.
Sooner or later (and it’s usually sooner), the market that you’re in will change and the profits that you’re now amassing will dwindle.
How often have we all heard and repeated the phrase, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”
It’s surprising to me that so many business owners seem to adopt this philosophy regarding their business model, products, and selling systems.
They simply want to leave “well enough” alone.
But there are a few more pro-active owners that are constantly inspecting and tweaking everything about their business, trying to stay on top of all the changing conditions and environments.
They don’t just rest on their laurels and wait until a disaster strikes before making a change.
Lots of solo business owners tend to spend way too much time working in their businesses when they should be devoting more thought and effort to working on their businesses. I hope the difference in these two practices is apparent.
Here are my recommendations for the solo owner:
1. Be observant of the trends and directions of your niche market. There are always clues available to the observant business owner that portend certain changes or course corrections within a niche.
If you never attempt to see or understand how these changes will affect your business and its products and sales, you will end up with out-of-date and out-of-favor merchandise that can’t be sold. You will be marketing products and services that people no longer desire.
2. Stay in touch with a network of change agents. Get to know the “movers” in your niche. Understand who the authority figures and though leaders are and follow their discussions about the niche marketplace.
The movers are the opinion creators, the style setters, the large businesses that manufacture and sell the leading products and that advertise profusely in niche magazines and newspapers.
Become friends with their key contacts so you’ll be in the loop when news spreads about major changes that are coming tp the horizon.
3. Periodically, poll your customers (or prospects in general) about exactly what they want in products and services. They may be looking for solutions to problems that you don’t even know exist. They may have different hopes, dreams, and desires (as a group) from what you envision or what you thought was the case 3 years ago.
This is a reality check, of sorts, to keep you sharp and focused on meeting customer’s wants. Markets, especially consumer driven markets, can be fickle and trendy. They can change seemingly overnight.
4. Set aside a specific time each week to review your business model and the strategies and systems you employ to sell your products. I’m not suggesting you make random changes here and there just for the sake of shaking things up.
But I am saying that you need to devote a certain amount of time to regularly re-evaluating and scrutinizing your business and how it operates. Challenge your reasons for doing what you do and for how you operate given all the choices available to you.
Ask, in every thing you do, “Is there a better solution?” “Is there a more efficient way to operate?” “Are there relevant factors and situations that exist today that I didn’t anticipate the last time I reviewed my business?
5. Always look for ways in which you can expand your business. Ramping up sales of existing products in your business is one thing, but seeking opportunities to get into new product lines, new sub-niches, or additional offerings is quite something else.
Keeping an open mind about this type of expansion will keep you on your toes and asking the right kinds of questions so that your business will stay at the forefront of the niche.
6. Constantly test and track new offerings. The most prolific Internet businesses that I follow all have something in common: they introduce or launch new products on a very regular basis.
They don’t invest a lot of money into a new product without first introducing it to the market, testing its sales, and making sure that it will be profitable before they roll it out on a grander scale.
If you will continually monitor and evaluate your own solo business according to these instructions, you will not find yourself suddenly obsolete because everything around you changed before you noticed what was taking place.
To your online business success!