Stop and think about this for a minute: How has the market for your industry changed in the last five years?
Did your target demographic age out of being able to use your products or services? Has the target audience gotten younger without you realizing it because you’ve been mired in “the way we’ve always done things”?
Every six months, and maybe more often depending on your business, you should take a step back from your business and get a fresh perspective on it. Take a good, hard, long look at it. Consider how well your marketing efforts have been doing. Your sales should be driving production and keeping inventory low or at a level you can fill orders for 15 or 30 days, depending on demand. Advertising should be introducing you to new customers and, at least, hitting the break-even mark on the return for your investment.
Remember to take a look at your products and services. Have they remained relevant to your customers and appealing to your prospects? Crunch the numbers for which of those products and services generate the highest profit margins for your bottom line. Think about whether one of your products has reached the end of its life cycle.
The idea here is to avoid change merely for the sake of change, but if the offering has served its purpose and the profit margin continues to shrink, it may be time to shift your corporate emphasis to other products to meet emerging markets.
Ah, emerging markets! This is probably the most prolific reason to take the time to get a fresh perspective and think things through. A recent meeting with a professional in the HVAC (Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning) business drove this point home. The market for HVAC services amongst the 55 and older demographic had become stagnant. The audience had, in essence, become arthritic and uninterested in change when they’ve had the same HVAC company for their entire home-owning life.
This professional sought a new perspective and did some market research. Lo and behold, it was discovered there was an emerging market being woefully underserved. You may be able to guess the demographic, but out of deference to my friend’s research and marketing efforts, I will abstain from divulging secrets that would aid the competition.
The more I see business owners searching for answers to keeping their company alive or expanding their culture and growing the business, the more obvious it becomes that a fresh perspective is essential. When you engage a consulting firm such as Brand Irons, you get a different, customer-oriented viewpoint backed by research that can be critical to your long-term survival.