Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Changing direction

     Free daily tips, information and advice for small business
     from personal experience founding and growing small businesses--been there, done that.

     Yesterday's blog was about "business drift" that occurs when your business tries to go off in another direction. 

     Businesses are living entities. Like a child beginning to grow up, businesses always start showing a life pattern peculiar to themselves. As the parent, you must be ever watchful and guide them in the direction you think best.

     You can follow where the business is leading you, or you can decide on a better path. It's up to you.

     Changing the direction of your business is a big decision. I'm not talking about simply adding another service or product line. I'm talking a drastic change in direction.

     Example: A machine shop has spent many years supplying the needs of commercial clients--parts and components meeting specifications. Clients are in various industries, including medical devices, automotive, nuclear, aerospace and others. Suddenly, 3-D printing burst on the scene, a quantum leap in technology. The expensive computer-driven machining of parts was suddenly under challenge by the new kid on the block. The owner of the machine shop knew that his business might well be replaced in the future by 3-D printing. But it would take time for the new technology to achieve the fine tolerances and finished products now demanded by his customer base. Meantime, he could not ignore what was happening. He decided to expand into 3-D printing in a small way and ride the wave as the technology developed.

     Advances in technology can present opportunities for changing the direction of your business. So can market forces.

     Examples: (1) Cars once had hubcaps. They were supplied to vehicle manufacturers by small companies. When automobiles rolled off the production line, hubcaps were in place. Then, suddenly, various market forces dictated the end of the hubcap. (2) Not so many years ago, it was impossible to find gluten-free foods. Today they are everywhere--in response to market forces. (3) Clothing cleaning operations today must be prepared to deal with clothing impregnated at the manufacturer with micro-deodorants, as well as wicking weaves in garments. (4) Landscapers are faced with changing market forces when residential clients opt for the wildflower look instead of high-maintenance lawns. (5) Big companies today can call a small firm specializing in temporary personnel placement to get an accountant or engineer for a specific project, thereby avoiding the costs of adding a permanent employee.

     Market forces are everywhere. They continually change and they affect your small business. Be alert to market force changes, not only in your particular market, but to other industry segments as well. Otherwise, you can be blindsided. 

     Changes in technology and changes in the marketplace roll in almost daily. Frequently they are combined, and the resulting tsunami can wipe out that small business that's caught unaware. Keep up.

     Questions? Free answers to your small business problems. Email me at AlWarr16@gmail.com but you MUST start the subject line with BLOG. Otherwise, you'll be deleted along with all the others trying to sell me something. I never share your email with anyone else. Your privacy is always respected.    

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