As the summer approaches and you become distracted by thoughts of sandy beaches, consider this: You are operating the business during the time of the “empowered customer.” Today’s customer is connected and mobile and has an endless abundance of choices. Your customers are loyal to your business only to the extent to which they feel that you understand their needs and are willing to fulfill them – immediately.
In short, your customers are not taking a holiday, and neither should your business. This is not to say that you should be held hostage by your business while everyone else enjoys the sun. That is unhealthy and unsustainable. This is to remind you that in order to grow a commercial business, it must be well-positioned all year long to attract and retain mercurial customers, even if you as the leader are not directing the day-to-day operations.
The following are tips to position your business to grow strong, even if you are not there to direct it:
Invest in yourself by positioning your company to thrive, even in your absence. Sip a cool drink by the pool, and reflect on how you’ve managed to grow your business while still enjoying time away for yourself.
- Clearly Differentiate
Identify what makes your company’s brand unique, and make sure this crystal clear in the minds of the customer. Does the company distinguish itself through superior customer service? Have a REAL person answer calls instead of forcing your customers through the inferno of voice prompts. Does your organization add more value to the customer than the competitor? Empower your employees to delight and surprise customers in the moment without having to go through bureaucracy for approval. Does your brand have a sense of humor? A memorable mascot will keep your business top of mind when customers are researching your industry (think Geico lizard).
- Scale Temporarily
Have you directed the team to broadcast to the widest possible market during the slow, hot days of summer because you assume the numbers game will work in the organization’s favor? It probably won’t. Instead, identify which of your prospective buyers need your company’s products or services the most right now and have your team focus only on those opportunities. You will increase your odds of getting the right product to the right customer at the right time, instead of throwing the proverbial spaghetti against the wall.
- Delegate. Delegate. Delegate.
You are only one person and can’t possibility do and be everything all the time. To grow the business, you must invest in people to do the tasks that you can’t physically (or mentally) be present to oversee, no matter what season it is. It’s a misconception think that it is cost-effective to manage everything yourself. Lost production and missed opportunities will cost you much more.
- Improve Technology
Upgraded technology is the engine that drives business growth without the need for your constant attention. Enhanced automation will increase productivity and provide better insights, which ultimately helps you and the team to work smarter, not harder. Investment in the right technology can save money in the long run by standardizing work processes that reduce both the number of errors made and the amount of time it takes to complete tasks across the organization.