Every year, more than 500,000 new businesses are created, but a large portion of them don’t survive through the first year.
This can be blamed on some factors such as mismanagement of funds, poor profit margins, and heavy losses.
However, there is a way to make all your future businesses future-proof. Most businesses die because they cannot survive change. Customer interests keep on changing every few months, and the saturation of businesses targeting the same market doesn’t help either.
To survive, you need to foreground what is already out there, but you also need to outsmart your competitors and other business owners.
Smart thinking gives you a competitive edge that beats large pools of investors and limitless capital.
Here are three smart thinking techniques that will help you survive the dynamic landscape in any niche.
1. Tap into new customer bases
Expanding your customer base is the single most effective way to future-proof your business.
By expanding your customer bases, you are not only increasing the number of customers on your plate but also increase your business’s revenue and growth potential.
There are two main ways to expand your customer base;
- Tap into new markets. This is very straightforward. If you only sell men’s fitness attire, why not start selling women’s attire too. By doing this, you’re ensuring that when one of your customer bases reduces in profitability, you can survive by capitalizing on the alternative customers. In addition, expanding your reach from a state-specific business to a national brand can also help you tap into new markets that could help you survive changing customer demands.
- Diversifying your products. Instead of selling similar products to a wider audience, you can try venturing into new products that are only slightly related to your current offers. For example, if you sell medical equipment, you could try selling other medical products such as The key is to become more useful to different types of customers to ensure that reduced customer demand in one stream of products doesn’t kill your business.
While tapping into new customer bases is a good business move for many entrepreneurs, it also comes at a great cost financially. In addition, it is also a very risky endeavor, and the wrong execution could drain out your funds and kill your business in the long run.
To mitigate the risk involved, Neil Patel cautions business owners against making decisions out of hunches. He suggests that you do extensive groundwork first, and only act on concrete data.
Though expanding your business requires a lot of resources, you shouldn’t give up just because you are not financially able. You can try venturing out as a startup and raise money the startup way, or you can take a business loan. Start by consulting with your legal team on how to get a small business loan, then create a strategy with the available options in mind.
The idea of expanding your business shouldn’t scare you. With careful planning and strategic execution of your expansion strategy, you can ensure that your business outlives your competitors and continues to generate profits even in the light of changing business tides.
2. Focus on remaining useful
There are different types of products that businesses in the digital age can offer. They can offer services such as link building, SaaS products, fashion products, health remedies, etc.
Regardless of the type of product you offer, there is always a few other businesses offering the same products, and even more, start-ups coming up with more creative ways to beat the already established brands.
To survive the changing business landscape, you need you remain useful to your customers or else they will ditch you and run to your better-suited competitors.
How do you remain useful?
Your business is only as useful as its products. No one buys from you just because they like your CEO.
No one buys from you just because of your marketing strategies rock.
Nobody buys from you just because of how catchy your brand name is.
Buyers buy from you because they find your products useful. In a nutshell, they buy because your products add value to their lives. Also, they stick with you because you’re providing the best products in your niche, or because you are charging the least amount compared to your competitors. Who doesn’t want to save some bucks now and then?
To remain useful, there are two strategies that smart business owners use. They are:
- Offering timeless products. Back in the 50s, newspapers were the primary source of news. Today, they are gradually fading away as people switch to digital media. You need to create products that will not run out of business demand in the next couple of years. A good example is the useful weather app for community. Its creators have learned that weather forecasts will still be in demand decades to come. This means that their product will still be useful many years to come.
- Product refinement. Producing a great product doesn’t guarantee that customers will stick with you. You need to constantly improve your products so that you’re providing the best value to your customers’ lives compared to your competitors. For example, as a business owner in the SaaS niche, you can stay useful by adding more features to your products.
After creating an evergreen product and refining it with more features or better offers, you need to ensure that your company scores high on customer satisfaction. With a 10% increase in customer satisfaction equating to a 12% increase in customer trust, you need to ensure that you’re constantly removing all obstacles to customer satisfaction. This includes errors in your product (e.g. software bugs), poor customer service and overpriced products.
Customers that trust your business, trust your products and stay with you for the long term. Make it a habit to continuously remain useful while improving customer satisfaction and you are on your way to surviving the changing business landscape.
3. Become a relevant brand
Many entrepreneurs confuse relevancy with usefulness.
Usefulness, as discussed above, is measured by the value you add to your customers’ lives. On the other hand, relevancy is measured by the value you provide to the society at large.
When you build a vehicle that uses the least amount of fuel, you’re useful to your customers. However, you don’t really matter to them. Products alone don’t create a personal bond between your business and your customers.
When customers buy from you the first time, they could be motivated by factors such as price or your useful products. However, for customers to stick with you and refer other people to your business, they look further beyond your products.
So, how do you become relevant in the society?
The answer is very simple. Invest in courses that people care about. These could include sponsoring a marathon to raise money for physically challenged children or taking part in humanitarian endeavors such as helping the victims of a natural disaster.
By investing in these activities, you start to matter to people. A good example is Samsung. Although they already matter and are useful to billions of people, they still use rugby as a means of becoming a meaningful brand.
In 2015, Samsung started a campaign to demystify the game, and later launched the Samsung School of rugby. This endeavor has endeared them to all rugby enthusiasts around the globe.
Research indicates that meaningful brands outperform the stock market by 206 %, making brand relevancy a key determinant of your survival in today’s dynamic era.
A business is only as successful as its creator or the decision maker.
With the three smart strategies explained above, you can outshine your competition and remain profitable in today’s dynamic landscape.
Research shows that less than 50% of all businesses thrive beyond four years. By following these strategies, you’ll be among the few that survive these four years, because that is where smart business owners like you belong.
Look at your business today and find out what areas you can improve. It’s only by thinking diversely that you can outlive your competition and remain useful and relevant to your customers for ages.