Does your day start something like this?

“How are you today?”

“Fine.”

This is a typical exchange that occurs for most of us daily. A variation is going to a networking event or business function and

“How’s business?”

“Fine.”

But is your business really FINE?

  • Financially strong,
  • Increasing customer base,
  • New opportunities to pursue, and
  • Exceeding expectations.

In today’s world, many businesses are fine, meaning simply “okay.” They are going along and if not thriving at least surviving. But don’t you want more for your business? Wouldn’t it be great if you:

  • Didn’t have to worry about having enough in the bank to pay the bills;
  • Had funds to invest in infrastructure (computer upgrades, software, etc.);
  • Had the ability to raise funds through investors or borrowing – but you don’t have to; and
  • Had the ability to undertake marketing and other activities to grow your business even stronger!

Many businesses today large and small are struggling. They are able to do enough, just enough not to lose ground on what they’ve built, but they don’t have the option to do more. Or they may be struggling to keep the doors open and don’t know how to do anything different to turn things around.

Observations from the Marketplace

Many businesses are being confronted by a combination of factors they have never had to deal with all at once. These include increasing:

  • labor costs – overtime, minimum wage, healthcare, etc.
  • competition – online, local, national, and global.
  • “noise” – social media, traditional advertising and marketing channels, video, website technology, SEO, etc.
  • regulations – local, state, and federal on how business can be done.
  • taxes – sales and use, property, income, payroll and more
  • technology changes – software, hardware, products, etc.

It is obvious that doing business is becoming increasingly complex and requires each and every business to reassess how they are doing business—serving and getting customers, and running the business—staffing, systems and processes, compliance, and financial performance.

What to Do? Focus on Your C.O.R.E.℠

CORE Business SystemWhen things get challenging, it becomes critical to get focused. The more focused your business is on:

  1. A specific Customer segment the greater is your ability to maximize the impact of your message, your limited resources (time, talent and money), and your
  2. Operations on the priorities and goals including the quality of products and services, cost control, and
  3. Results that you want to generate which have to include revenue, profits, and cash flow and other non-financial measures like on-time delivery, customer satisfaction, etc. and that means you have to have great
  4. E If you can’t get the right things done, on-time, as promised, quality maintained, and demonstrate why people should do business with you—your customers, employees, suppliers, and other stakeholders—then you won’t be able to stay in business let alone grow.

There is another core item to focus on: your core capabilities and products/services/technology. What is it you want your business to be known for? What do you want customers to say about your “product” and how you do business?

Focus is the Key

Your business to succeed in the face of complexity and external pressures has to be focused. By focusing in on what you do best, by having a core customer, product, abilities, market, and so on you are able to maximize the impact of limited time, money and talent. You are able to target your market message for maximum impact to a core group of prospects that will enable you to intensify your impact on them.

Foundational Strength … Before You Build

Before you object that you might miss out on sales and customers if you focus too narrowly, understand that you are not excluding anyone from becoming a customer. You are simply focusing how you deploy your assets to make an impact. You are becoming laser focused. Once you have your revenues, profits and cash flow growing, then you can decide if you want to grow by:

  • Increasing market share in your existing target market;
  • Pursuing an adjacent or related target market (something similar to the group you currently serve); or
  • Creating a new opportunity through innovation, a new product or service offering, or entering a new market entirely.

Whatever you do, in a changing world, your first, best strategy is to hone your existing organization to strengthen you core operations. Build up your C.O.R.E.℠, then from a position of strength strategically select your growth strategy and target. Develop a plan of action. Your business will be FINE for years to come.

 

Copyright ©2016 Lea A. Strickland, F.O.C.U.S. Resource, Inc.

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