How do you know if your business has reached the pinnacle? Is it when you own the niche for your product or service and the accompanying majority share of the market? Is it when consumers come back and sing your praises throughout the land?
A lot depends on how you define the top. When a mountain climber reaches the top, there’s only one way to go, down. A business, on the other hand, can reach the top and remain there for quite some time. You might even compare it to the children’s game, King of the Hill. The stronger and smarter you are, the longer you stay on top but you can always be knocked off by a surprise move.
When you define what the peak is for your business, you may discover you have already reached it. If, for instance, the acme is achieving five million in sales for your product or service, your financials may show you’re already there. What was the goal in your original business plan? Have you looked at that lately? What do you do if you’ve achieved the goal you originally established?
The obvious answer would be to diversify and find another mountain to climb, or to re-define the peak you seek to achieve. If you achieved five million, can you do 15 or 20?
From a marketing perspective, the journey to the top involves taking the right steps, having a support system behind (and with) you along the way, and bringing others with you. There’s a story somewhere about the person who wants to climb the mountain and struggles to do so, but when she helps others reach the peak turns around and realizes that in the process of helping another get to the top, she has done so herself.
Back to marketing, though. When you do the right things and achieve the objectives you set out to reach, your continued success – the ability to remain at the top – depends on building brand loyalty. If your customers love being on top, #1, with you and you foster that admiration with them and your prospective customers, your place on top of the mountain can remain strong for a long time.
Last week’s blog referred to Ford and Chevrolet. Both remain strong on the automobile mountain because they have taken care of their customers, but also because they have not been afraid to take risks and innovate with new designs and different vehicles. They’ve made mistakes along the way, no doubt. Ford with the Edsel debacle and Chevrolet with the recent government assistance program.
The lessons to be learned are that if you remain focused on your customers and what they want, you can weather set-backs and still reach the pinnacle. Mountain climbers have challenges along their path to the peak; it’s not a flight of steps up to the heights.
If you are King of the Hill, enjoy it while you’re there!