Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Business direction

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     to help you better manage your small business. 

     Businesses change directions all the time. Some of this is business drift--your operation tends to drift in one direction or another. Other times, you deliberately nudge your business in another direction.

     Example: A small machine shop had been a family operation for many years. The shop had long ago installed the computer-driven machines to serve customers in aerospace, medical, and other corporate operations. Then along came the 3-D machines that could produce parts in plastics and metals. The machine shop owner was reluctant in the beginning to jump too quickly. But 3-D printing showed the promise of revolutionizing the industry. He installed one of the machines, began training his people, and began turning out useful pieces--some of which could expand the market he served. 

     This shows how technology can sometimes offer your business an opportunity to make a quantum leap forward. No matter your business, watch for technological improvements that can affect your industry. 

     Example: Food is always on everyone's mind. Not only must we eat, but today the concern has moved to what we eat. A small farmer can make a good living today growing and selling fresh produce in the local market--I know several who do. One of them is bringing to market a product new to his offerings of a variety of lettuces, spinach, and seasonal vegetables. The new products are the flower buds produced in spring from last year's kale crop. It's fresh, it's kale, it's new--all the elements to excite the marketplace. People use the kale buds in various ways. I would throw them into an omelet--the same can be done with milkweed buds or day lily buds. And a chef can come up with some pricey new dishes to add to the menu. 

     Think outside the box to come up with ways to change the direction of your business. But exercise care. If you wave goodbye to your present business and set off on new oceans, make certain you can predict and weather the storms ahead. 

     Changing business direction can be a good thing. New directions beckon all the time. Be careful with business drift, however. You can drift into dead ends.   

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