Growing Pains

Change

Photo (CC) by Nana B. Agyel, on Flickr

One of the objectives at Power of Business is to learn from other business owners. Often others have already experienced the path we, as a business owner, are thinking about or already on.

This is a great story examining how growth turned out to be less than a great thing for Copper Pot Carmels.

According to the article, the issues started as the owners started to streamline the process in order to keep up with demand. What surprised them was the customer reaction.  And what was the streamlining? An automated wrapping machine which demanded a new type of wrapper.

Read how they had to step back and refocus and what their future plans are. Also pay attention to their passion for the business in terms of the hours they were working.  Lots of lessons to learn such as talking to your customer before making a big change.  You should also appreciate their attitude that “It’s not the end or an era; it’s the end of a chapter.”

Hopefully a reversed decision does not end your business but instead help you instead decide how to move forward. 

As you read the article, how might you have handled the situation? Lessons learned.

Trends Influencing Your Small Business

It is important to remain aware of and be prepared to respond to trends that may influence your business.

Dr. Connie Reimers-Hild took some time to look at three mega-trends she views as influencing rural, small businesses. Watch the first of her videos that examines the gig-economy.

What’s the gig-economy? It is many things but one element is self-employment, or freelancing in her terminology. Her information shows this is a rapidly growing trend.

So take a look. Read more about it here.

And then take a few moments to think about how this and the two other trends, Living with Purpose and Meaning and The Decentralized Marketplace, are and will continue to influence your business.

Is Your Market Changing?

change

Photo (CC) by SEO, on Flickr

My drive to work is usually spent listening to news on the radio. Three recent items got me thinking about this column.

Yesterday one of the stories highlighted how millennials are now the largest segment of the U. S. workforce. Today a news story discussed how ethnic backgrounds in various parts of our country have constantly changed since our country’s founding. And last week a news article, discussing the slowdown in oil production in western North Dakota, commented on the rapid change in the mix of people again occurring.

The point these three stories make is that markets change. No matter where you are located or who your market is today, things will be different tomorrow. Developing an understanding of your market is something you do just once. Never stop updating your information about who your market is.

This means your:
• Product and service offerings may need to change.
• Marketing methods may need to change.
• Pricing may need to change.
• Acceptable payment methods may need to change (just an aside – an article yesterday indicated that over 80% of today’s customers do, or want to, pay using credit or debit cards).
• Competition has probably changed.
• Service and support may need to change.

You probably have the picture. Not only do you need to know who your market is but you need to respond to what the market wants. It is rare for a business today to be able to continue to always do business “the good old way.”

There are lots of ways to keep in touch with changes in your market. Following the news is just one. Being involved in the community is another. Keeping up with census data and reports done for local officials or the chamber of commerce is a third method. And of course, you can do your own market research.

Your market is changing. Your continued success happens if you stay in touch and continue to be innovative in your operation.