Sunday, November 29, 2015

Know your Competition

In order to compete effectively and outperform competition you need to know their strengths and weaknesses. Your product or service has to be unique or stand out against prime competitors.
To test your competitive intelligence; ask yourself:

1. Product mix
What products do you offer that competitors don’t offer? Is there a market void you can fill?

2. Training
Are your employees as well trained to service customers as your competitor? Can your employees answer questions about your competitor’s products? Can you identify competitive weaknesses? Are you vulnerable in any way?

3. Promotion
Are you familiar with competitive messages? Check their websites, brochures and promotion material to understand their positioning and how it affects you. Does your competition spend more advertising and promotion that you do? How does that affect how you compete?

4. Supply lines
Do you know your competitors customers, suppliers and distributors? You need to know how strong their relationships are to know how you can compete most effectively.

Understanding your competition not only allows you to understand where you compete best but may offer the opportunity to collaborate in areas in which you do not directly compete. A competitor may be willing to refer customers to you if you offer a particularly unique product or service. This can only happen if you know your competition and develop a relationship of trust between you.
In the end use this knowledge to strengthen your own position and build your strategy and a place in the market.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Business Management

Conserve Your Cash

Conserving cash flow can create benefits in economic conditions facing business today. When business is in a low or slow growth pattern, cash is very important and if you don’t have cash when you need it the most operations can be constrained.

Conserving cash flow may not be easy for those businesses that have been used to having the money to spend at any time. However, when the time comes that some belt-tightening would be necessary, some practical cash flow conservation methods may be prudent.

Here are a few tips to conserve cash:
Spend wisely. Make sure that purchases are made for need to have not nice to have items. Items should have a good use in the business producing revenue where possible.

Hire only when necessary. Employee salaries are a significant cash drain so efforts to maximize productivity from current employees are paramount.

Lease equipment. Leasing vs buying can be an important option since equipment purchasing can be a serious cash drain. 

Plan ahead. Make sure you forecast financial activity. A plan outlining expected revenues and expenditures is vital to understanding cash needs. You certainly want no surprises on cash flow activity.

Renegotiate leases. Rent is often a sizeable fixed cost that can be negotiated. Speak with your landlord; there may be an opportunity to downsize or even temporarily obtain rent reductions. Landlords often prefer to accept lower income than losing tenants.

Go to the clouds. If your business is large enough to have in-house servers you are aware of the maintenance costs. If business is increasing this may be a cost effective way to create additional capacity without buying expensive new servers.

Business owners should share their cash flow objectives with other key managers to ensure every opportunity to maximize cash savings is realized.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Networking = Improved Results

Having a network of business peers and associates can be invaluable in resolving business issues, sharing relationships and helping each other in a group.

Network opportunities can provide:  

-     -    A setting to meet new contacts in a casual, less business, more social environment.

-  - A way to volunteer in organizations and gain visibility while giving back to those who may help you.

-      -  Ways to meet people across different business streams that may have resources that can help you achieve your own goals.

-       -  An opportunity in group discussions to pose open ended questions that can provide additional information you seek and stimulate responses that show your interest in the group.

-     -    An opportunity for you to be a discussion leader and that adds respect for you and a chance to be perceived as a leader.

      If you extend efforts to become more involved with a variety of networks there can be a significant payoff in terms of support you achieve in developing your new business opportunities and contributions you can make to others without jeopardizing your own business goals.

      Look for groups to join that can expand your knowledge base and your business. Take no opportunity to network lightly – strive for excellence.