Business Trouble And Weakness

Wherever you see a business in trouble, you will find a weakness in one of these three areas.

  • First, the people in the company are neutral or even negative about the products and services they sell. As a result, they don\’t really care that much for their customers. There\’s something going through the motions each day with no passion for the importance or goodness of what they do.
  • The second reason that companies fail is that their product offering is not good enough. It is a “Me Too” product. There are lots of competitive products that are equal to, or even better at the same or even lower price. For this reason, it\’s always hard to sell and get repeat business. One rule for business success is that you should only offer a product or service or enter a market where you feel you can be the best. Sometime in the future, you should continually ask how we can be the best at what we do?
  • A third reason that companies fail when a business gets into trouble it\’s often because profits are too low. In most cases, it is selling a product or service at such a low price that the company can barely survive. The need to sell at a low price can be the result of poor quality, poor marketing, intense competition, low demand, or better alternatives available to find a product or service. Begin with yourself. Do you like it? Would you use it? Would you sell it to your mother or to your best friend? Do you feel that the product is so good for others that you are prepared to sell it for 10 or 20 years? Think like a customer with a customer like it with a customer? Buy it, but a customer buy it from you rather than buying it from a competitor. Why or why not?

Wal-Mart has become the most successful retailing operation in the world. One of the reasons for this is because every buyer for Wal-Mart stores sees themself as working directly for the customer. Their job is to negotiate the prices down, and the quality up for the products at Wal-Mart stores will carry. Every buyer for Wal-Mart feels engaged in a noble quest to get Wal-Mart customers the very best for the very least. Now, even if you\’re already in business, you need to remember that 80 percent of the products and services you are selling today will be obsolete and off the market within five years. In addition, most of what people will be consuming in five years does not even exist today. Research, development, and the introduction of new products and services are vital to your success.

In their bestselling book on strategy competing for the future, authors Gary Hamel and C.K. Prahlad point out that top businesses and businesspeople think five years into the future. They imagine that five years have passed, and they look around and ask, What will our customers be wanting or buying in five years? Top entrepreneurs practice back from the future, thinking they project forward and then think backward. They then imagine the steps they will have to take in the present to be ready for the customers and the markets of tomorrow.

“As Peter Drucker said, the very best way to predict the future is to create it. “

What are the trends? In what direction is your business moving? What is it that customers are using today that they were not using five years ago? Since customers are impatient, fickle, demanding, and disloyal, and they always want the very most, for the very least, what sorts of products and services will they be demanding from you in five years? Your ability to think ahead and then to take the necessary steps to be ready for the inevitable future is a mark of a superior businessperson.

A great exercise for you is to practice what is called reinvention. Imagine reinventing yourself and your business every six months based on your knowledge at that time. If your business were to burn to the ground, or if you were to lose your job unexpectedly and you could then choose to do anything you wanted, what would you do differently from today? Use the walk across the street method of strategic planning if you could walk across the street and start your business over again today? What would you do more of or less of? What would you get into or get out of? What would you start up or stop doing altogether? What products and services would you immediately bring to the market if your business burned to the ground? And what products or services would you no longer offer?
There are many ways to find new products and services because of the perfect storm of information explosion, technology expansion, and increased competition. More and more products and services are pouring into the market from national and international competitors since there are no limits to human wants and desires. There will never be an end to products and services produced to satisfy those wants and desires. Many of the great fortunes of today are based on products, services, and technologies that did not exist 25 years ago and maybe not even five years ago. Most of the great fortunes of tomorrow will be based on products, services, and technologies that are not yet on the market. You must be open, aware, and alert to business opportunities happening all around you. So how do you find a new product or service? Continue to the next lesson for some ideas.