Monday, October 26, 2015

Changing business direction

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     Businesses change directions in two ways. They can drift into new markets or they can deliberately strike off down another road.

     When you spot your business drifting, it's time to evaluate whether or not you want to follow the drift. It might be the future, or it might be a dead end. Remember the video store?

     On the other hand, when you spot a new market opportunity, it can represent a direction you might want to check out. It might work, or it might not. 

     Example: A small machine shop was 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 fields. Then, along came 3-D printing. This new technology could produce parts in plastics and metals. The machine shop owner was reluctant in the beginning to jump into the new field too quickly. But 3-D printing showed the promise of revolutionizing the industry. He installed one of the new machines, began training his people, and began turning out useful pieces--some of which could expand the market he served. He was changing the way his business would serve the marketplace in the future. 

     Technology can offer all sorts of opportunities to change business direction. Think how social media can point thousands of potential customers to your website. This has changed the direction of many businesses, exploding the reach into new markets.

     But things less sexy can change as well. Think food.

     Example: A local small farmer is producing lettuces, spinach, and seasonal greens and herbs. He spotted a new product in his fields--the flower buds produced in spring from last year's kale crop. It's fresh, it's local, it's kale, it's new--all the elements to excite the marketplace. Chefs are now using kale buds in various ways--sauteed, in soups, in omelets. The farmer also offers milkweed buds and day lily buds which chefs are using in the same ways. These are "new" products which were there all along, but whose time has come in the marketplace. 

     Changing the direction of your business offers opportunities to push more products and services into the marketplace. Think outside the box to come up with ways that work for you.

     Changing directions in your business can open up new avenues to growth, expansion and future success. Keep an eye on that business plan, however. You don't want to get ahead of your self.


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