Borders bookstore went bankrupt when it failed to adapt to the demands of the online marketplace. Instead of making money off eBooks and creating a strong singular web presence, outsourced its digital sales to Amazon and relied on the omnipresence of its physical locations.
Your business must evolve along with industry changes and trends in order stay relevant. Keeping your finger on the pulse of your target market will ensure that you continue to meet their needs and secure your future success.
Inc suggests that you continually refer to the following questions to help you keep your business relevant and achieve long-term growth and profitability.
1. What need does your business fulfill? – Will it make people more healthy, wealthy, or wise? Consumers want something that will enhance their lives.
To learn how you can fulfill customers’ needs, conduct research like Steve Jobs, who was tireless in exploring what customers really felt, starting with himself. This attention to earnest research is how Steve learned what customers needed and wanted in a cell phone, and what led him to create a great mobile that consumers fell in love with.
Find out what consumers really want and provide something that offers convenience, ease of use,etc—essentially, something that solves a problem—and you’ll always have a steady stream of customers.
2. Does your company provide value? – This does not refer to price, but rather what your business can do to create happiness or ease the hassles or hardships we all experience at times.
For example, a business might produce cheap (no more than $2) “shut up toys” that shopping parents can purchase for whiny children screaming “I want, I want” just to get them to stay quiet. Now there’s a useful idea that will always be in demand!
3. Does your company provide products or services that are easy to learn and remember? – How quickly can people figure out what to do with your product or service? Do you offer a cloud-based POS & Ecommerce system that’s intuitive enough for anyone to use? Does it streamline inventory management into one seamless process that updates both website and POS?
Do customers always have to call your support line in order to use your product? If so, a competitor will eventually make a similar product that’s more convenient and easier to use. When that happens, your product will be left in the past like many other obsolete products before it.
4. Is your business eco-conscious? – More and more people are concerned with eco-friendly products and services, whether they’re looking for paint supplies, baby diapers or organic cleaning solutions. The competition is stiff, so stay ahead of the game and make sure you provide unquestionable quality in all that you do.
5. Are your products, services, and brand share-worthy? – Does content about your product, service, or brand get more shares than viral cat videos? It’s important to create engaging marketing messages that people want to repeat over and over. Your marketing should use emotional content that drives consumers to react the way you want them to.
6. Does your business make you proud? – What legacy will your business leave behind? Obviously, nothing will rival the feeling you get when you get overwhelming customer response to your products or services. The more your business makes a positive difference in the lives of consumers, the more gratification you’ll feel over your company’s achievements (and the better you’ll sleep at night).
“Your company may seem relevant to you,” says Fast Company, “but from the outside, is it hitting home with your audience?” If your products or services resonate with customers, your relationship with them will be more meaningful, longer lasting, and more profitable.
The modern marketplace is constantly changing and evolving. As new technology and competition emerge, your business must keep up in order to enjoy long-term success. To help you achieve that, focus on the questions above and make any necessary changes to ensure that your company will always be in demand.