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Are You Ready To Embrace The Changes

WE all scan the headlines hoping to see a positive message that we have turned the corner and the outlook ahead holds more promise for business and trade.

Well here is the good news… change is on the way, that’s for sure… if your business is ready to embrace those changes through good management, solid business strategy and a flexible approach to sales and marketing then improvement in performance is within reach.

1. Good management: The world around us is changing faster than ever before; we access the world from our mobile devices at almost any time and any place, so in theory the information available to us should mean we are better equipped than ever before to succeed.

However, instant access to websites, e-books and so-called experts, rather than improve, if anything, seems to have clouded the issue. The world of management can easily become distorted by spin, with unlimited offers from suppliers claiming to be the oracle.

This spin of online communications instead of improving our quality of knowledge and expertise has led to an explosion of quantity rather than quality, leaving us with the ‘good, the bad and the ugly’ and the challenge of sifting the good from the pack.

A changed approach is needed, we must ensure we have ‘the right people on the bus’ essentially by seeking to attract the quality of management best suited to a business and its specific needs, or by training existing staff in key areas of responsibility.

Experience has shown that all too often management may be expected to perform an ever increasing range of responsibilities outside of their strengths, leading to increased hours, stressful working environments and under performance. Sound familiar?

One effective solution is in supporting in-house teams with industry specialists to provide flexible solutions on a project basis.

2. Solid business strategy: Once we have ‘the right people on the bus’, it’s absolutely key that we know ‘where the bus is going’. A solid business strategy isn’t about doing what we have always done.

Today’s business outlook, more than ever before, is one of the need to change and adapt. Strategy should be about identifying clear objectives, which provide the business with focus and direction.

Solid strategy is supported with a highly focused plan, which doesn’t cover ‘everything but the kitchen sink’, but identifies the vital few things that will make the difference in performance. This may simply be the one, two or three key projects that are key to achieving the objectives.

3. Flexible sales & marketing: Of course in challenging economic times you’d expect budgets being trimmed, and for sales and marketing often that means going back to basics. I’ve heard those who say ‘we’ve stopped spending money on marketing, websites and advertising and gone back to good old networking’. ‘It’s not what you know, it’s who you know’.

Well networking has its place, but in his book, ‘The Jelly Effect’ communications guru Andy Bounds refers to networking like a big net full of big fish (very useful contacts), tiddlers (quite useful) and old boots (no use).
The key point here is sales and marketing isn’t just about let’s go out and sell and promote what we have – it’s about understanding who are our big fish? When we know who they are we need to ask questions like – what do they need? How and when do they need it? Where do they look for it? How can we benefit them?

As the business outlook for 2013 and beyond continues to change, sales & marketing must continue to evolve and understand the target. Years ago some businesses were simply throwing jelly hoping that some of it would stick.

In 2013 this doesn’t work anymore and businesses must better understand their target markets and ‘how to make their communications stick’.

Leo Aspden is a chartered marketer, high growth business coach and former North West Ambassador for SMEs for the Chartered Institute of Marketing.

T: 0161 969 4515
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Andy Bounds The Jelly Effect, how to make your communication stick. Capstone Publishing.

This article has been reproduced from the Contract Flooring Journal website. You can find them at www.contractflooringjournal.co.uk.