Tag Archives: change

Making Changes

You’ve probably heard the analogy about large corporations being like an aircraft carrier or battleship while smaller companies are compared to PT boats or cruisers.  It’s the analogy that making a course correction or changes within a large corporation is more difficult and takes longer than the same action with a smaller vessel.

CVN-76 USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier

CVN-76 USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier

There’s an element of truth to the analogy, although you must remember that larger businesses have more resources at their disposal when it comes to making changes.  An aircraft carrier, for example, has the resources to protect the direction its been going while it prepares to make a course adjustment.  It has a much greater reach and a larger crew than the destroyer running alongside.  In fact, the destroyer can be part of the larger aircraft carrier’s entourage and thus help affect change more quickly.

Enough of the military perspective.  We’ve advocated for several blogs about the importance of constantly taking a step or two back and looking at your business from a different perspective.  We are against change for the sake of change.  However, if a change is warranted for whatever reason – economic downturn, cost inefficiencies, product obsolescence, poor performance, or lagging sales – the more rapidly and efficiently change can be made, the better off the company will be when it comes to survival over the long haul.

Smith-Corona once owned the market for typewriters but failed to make an effective transition to computers.  IBM, on the other hand, had a large market share with their Selectric typewriter and made a relatively successful change to the world of computers.  Similar comparisons can be made in other fields – Motorola with portable phones, for example.  The company once owned the manufacturing sector for portable phones and now has a smaller share of the market but is making a comeback.

Change is a constant in every business environment.  The key to staying ahead of change is to remain abreast of what the consumer wants and is willing to pay for.  How does a company do that?

First, at least some of the corporate culture needs to embrace the concept that change is the only thing that’s permanent.  Change is happening all the time as consumers age and change buying habits – purchasing online versus at the retail outlet, for example.

Second, engage strategic partners such as Brand Irons to put a finger on the pulse of consumers and more clearly define marketing direction or internal changes that may be a necessity to move in the right direction.  The slogan below links to our website.

Third, be pro-active in making changes.  Waiting, although it is a decision, can be disastrous if your competitors move more quickly and capture a big chunk of your market share.  It’s your business to gain – or lose.

Be sensitive and open to change.

Brand Your Work – Work Your Brand 

Fresh Perspectives

head-scratcherStop 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.