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Welcome to the new year!
It is 2019 already and for most the new year is a time of reflection and goal setting – so why not start your year off on the right foot by considering the steps you need to take to be ‘business ready’ !
In the modern world, running a business can be extremely difficult due to sheer number of competitor businesses currently on the market. Whether you’re a lowkey designer trying to gain some clout in the fashion industry, or a car manufacturer with innovative technology, you are very likely to be facing off against some highly skilled competitors. It is essential, therefore, for you and your business to stay ahead of the competition so that you can grow and compete against the giants of your industry. The primary way of ensuring that you stay ahead is by managing the following things: productivity, innovation, infrastructure and marketing. The four aforementioned things are key building blocks of a successful business strategy; once they have been correctly established, a business is in an optimal position to flourish.
1. Plan for increase productivity
Productivity refers to the rate at which a company can produce a good or service in relation to the relative input required to produce said good or service. Put plainly, productivity is how efficiently you can output goods with a finite number of materials (e.g. labour or capital). Hence, in order to be productive, businesses must manage their allocation of resources so that their production is as efficient as possible. If their factors of production have been misallocated – for example, if there is too much or too little labour in a certain area – , then a business is likely to be inefficient in its production, thus meaning that its productivity is poor. Sounds simple, right?
Theoretically speaking, I must admit that managing productivity does not seem so difficult. All it requires (so it seems) is that you have the right number of resources in the right area. In the real world, however, things become all the more difficult due to the existence of poor structure, training and management. This is made all the more difficult because economic crises could occur at any moment, so firms must be constantly aware of the threat that said crises may pose.
2. Build a team and processes that work !
To stay ahead, therefore, companies must ensure that their basic infrastructure is good. This entails having a planned production routine which affords for errors in production, but also does its best to minimise them. Furthermore, firms ought to ensure that their staff are well trained so that they can work at the optimum rate and produce the best quality goods. A simple way of ensuring that this is taken care of is by providing educational courses and routinely evaluating the standards of staff via the medium of examination, for example. As for management, firms ought to ensure that the staff overseeing production are fully aware of the production process so that they can limit the amount of mishaps that may occur. Moreover, managers ought to communicate effectively so that they can respond to – or even act before – an economic shock or incident which may occur.
3. Innovation is a key driver for success
Innovation is one of those areas which requires extensive research which will allow you to stay a step ahead of your competition. By researching current trends – as well as previous trends – in your given industry, you are giving yourself the best chance to predict future trends so that you can work towards them. Moreover, you give yourself the chance to notice gaps within the market, thereby allowing you to innovatively create products which consumers may never have thought of before. My favourite example of innovation is Nike’s self-lacing technology which was developed in their HyperAdapt series. Of course, everyone remembers the notorious Air Mags from Back To The Future, but the HyperAdapt is an innovative shoe with some funky technology. The creative designers at Nike really hit the jackpot with these shoes as they could appease the masses, and those who may have difficulty putting on and tying their own shoes e.g. people within the disabled community.
4. Tell people what you do – i.e. marketing for yourself and product / service
Marketing is also a vital area to any business plan, particularly one which is hoping to be successful in the modern era. By ensuring that you promote your business on social media – on Twitter, Facebook or YouTube, for example – you are giving yourself the best chance of attracting consumers or investors. It is, essentially, all about attracting the attention of the people who may matter the most to you; the best way of doing that is by using the ever-expanding social media platforms as a means towards your ends. When browsing on Instagram or Facebook, for example, I always see advertisements from businesses such as Amazon or Wish. Tactically speaking, businesses ought to try and get as many of these advertising opportunities as possible so that they can raise their status in comparison to the competition.
In conclusion, staying ahead in the business world requires dedication and efficient work. The best way to stay ahead, in my opinion, is to manage the three areas which I have highlighted above: production, marketing and innovation. By managing these areas, you as a business are giving yourself the best chance to be a step ahead of those you are competing against. It is, essentially, all about working smartly to ensure that you remain stable and at the top, without allowing your business to fade away. There, of course, have been many cases of business falling dramatically from the top; however, by maintaining your standards and working with an effective business plan you will limit your likelihood of failure and maximise your chance of success.
January 7, 2019 at 12:52PM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs