When you start a business, your initial product or service is often only the tip of the iceberg. You may have big ideas for driving your business forward, but if you don't implement those ideas:
A) At the right time
B) In the right way
C) With the right strategies behind them
Then you could find yourself with the business pointing the wrong way at the wrong time. Changing any part of your business can be difficult, but it's sometimes necessary to move forward and, ultimately, stay relevant.
We don’t want to bang on about the big ‘R-word’, but the reality is that economic downturn is either coming or already here – it’s a perpetual cycle that we find ourselves in, and we’ve got to be ready to tackle it. We all do.
So how can you get ready for it? And why should you change what you’ve always done to prepare for it? We’ve got a few ideas, and luckily for you, we’ve put them down on a page.
Evaluate your value proposition and messaging.
The first step in deciding whether or not a business needs to change is to evaluate the positioning and messaging attributed to its product or service. If you can’t define who you serve, how you serve them, and why they should buy from you — then it's time for a change.
As we’ve said before, proper positioning is about establishing your product or service as the only choice in the minds of your audience and allows you to differentiate your offer from the rest of the competition. Heading into a period where people spend money differently, your positioning and messaging have to be absolutely on the money to secure eyeballs and, ultimately, revenue.
The reality is that people will still spend money when times are tough – they just spend it differently and for the right experience. It’s for this reason that you have to have already worked out what your positioning is, whether that’s a refreshed value proposition or a complete pivot. Now is the time to do that, not when it’s too late, and your competitors are already streets ahead of you.
Examine your competitors
If you're in a market where competition is fierce, then it's important to know your competitors' strengths and weaknesses. This way, you can tailor your product or service offerings to fill gaps that may be missing from their offerings.
You should also look at the price points of similar products in your industry. If there are existing businesses with similar offerings that are beating you on price, then it might be time to evaluate why that is and if it’s either the right choice or if you need to change tack.
Part of your positioning work for your product or service should (we hope) involve competitor analysis, so you should already have a good idea of who sits where and which companies are most likely to steal your food. Having competitors isn’t always about a race to the customer; you can learn from them and iterate on their ideas as long as you’re not ripping them off.
What doesn’t work for them might work for you, and vice versa. Are you more agile than them and able to pivot or release new products to market quicker than them or turn on campaigns quicker than them?
Evaluating your Customer Experience
One of the key differentiators between you and your competitors is the experience your customers have using your product or service. Listen to what your customers have to say and evaluate whether the CX is reaping the rewards it should be.
It should be a seamless experience that leaves them wanting more. If it’s not, then perhaps it needs some work to keep you relevant. Ultimately, the best products or services have best-in-class CX built-in. Therefore, they’re the most relevant products out there.
It’s also worth considering the channels you use to connect with your customers. Evaluate where your customers are, not just who they are. Consider emerging channels such as the Metaverse and Web 3.0 – the next generation of consumers are certainly already there or are about to be, so it’s worth exploring. Be where your customers are and let your proposition and value shine through, keeping your relevant.
And finally, what’s your North Star? Although it’s an iterative process, keep coming back to your proposition to keep you pointing in the right direction. If you’ve done your homework, it should act as a North Star to keep you honest, relevant, and offering value.
Changing any part of your business can be difficult but necessary to drive your business forward
Change can be difficult, but it is sometimes necessary.
When you change your business in any way, you’re making a gamble. You’re betting that the change will be worth the time and effort it takes to implement it — and then some. But if you don’t change your business, you have to ask the question – is that a bigger gamble?
If you’re feeling unsure about changing anything in your business, that’s okay! We all need to make sure we are doing what is best for our companies. The important thing is to evaluate your current position and look at the market around you from an objective perspective. This will help you determine if there are any changes that need to be made or if everything is going well as-is.
Ultimately, you have to evaluate whether the value you offer is equal to the reward you bring home. That’s directly linked to your positioning and whether it’s fit for market, as well as additional strategies like product or community strategies. And remember, always ask yourself the question: am I solving a problem? If you are, you’re offering value…if you’re struggling to answer the question, then maybe it’s time to change course.
And remember, at the end of the day, it’s all about staying relevant. The best products or services out there, or at least the ones with longevity, are the ones that stay relevant for the longest. So use your positioning as a North Star to keep you honest and relevant.