THE ONLY THING CONSTANT IS CHANGE
Who said that? We did. Someone else said it first, but that’s not important. What is important is your recognition that change is an integral part of life and if you don’t incorporate it into your business, sooner or later you will be left behind.
Now for those conservative minded readers who still wear bow ties and Brooks Brothers suits, we will gladly acknowledge that exceptions abound. Unfortunately, however, most of us do not have the luxury of waiting to see if the public will stick with our products. He who waits and makes a mistake gets left behind. Don’t believe me? Ask IBM, Sears, or the entire U.S. automobile industry. Change left them all in the dust.
To compound matters, change is rapidly becoming a trend force. By this expression, I mean that change is becoming an expected mode of operation for your customers. Want some examples? Ok, let’s take the fast food industry. Does the name itself tell you anything? Think about the successful ones—McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s. What do they have going that their copy-cat failure competition can’t latch on to? Change. Almost every week the big three have something new going on. You will see new products, new offers, new games. McDonald’s is totally changing the interior of every store in Europe to change its face overseas and create a more upscale environment. In addition, kid’s meal offerings change constantly along with local endorsements and sponsorships.
You have only to listen to the quote of Ray Kroc, the McDonald’s founder, in order to know their position. “We can invent it faster than others can copy it.”
Change is certainly not limited to fast foods either. I think one of the best examples of change can be seen at Apple. Now that Steve Jobs is back he is cranking out one winning product after another. He embraces change and makes it a part of the corporate culture.
WHAT DOES ALL THIS MEAN TO YOU?
It means that you should adopt change as part of your business. Not as an accident which happens, but actually part of your ongoing operation. Use change to let your customers know that you are a viable company constantly aware of the latest trends. How do you do it? Let’s look at some ideas.
1. New product or service. Borrowing from the fast-food industry, always be on the look out for anything new which can be added to your product line or service offering. Now note, and this is important, don’t worry whether or not this product will make money by itself. Sometimes you will do things simply to draw attention to your entire line of products and your business in general.
2. Be on the look out for a different way to serve your customer. Home delivery is an example. More and more companies are turning to this strategy and shopping online is so successful because the products come to you. No traffic and less stress. Can you think of another way?
3. Center promotions on holidays, local news events and fads. These events don’t have to relate to your product except that you tie it in that way. The more you can use these events, the more your company and product seem current.
Change is a powerful business force. It can wipe you out or it can make you an overnight success. This coming year, put the word change on every day of your calendar. Constantly be on the look out for the next promotion. If you do this, you will energize yourself, your employees, and most importantly, your customers.
Business Rule: Incorporate change as a part of your business philosophy, but don’t change what works.