Times change, that’s a given. And if you would like your company to be there for your customers over the long term, you’ll have to continue to evolve and be relevant no matter what changes come. By evolving before you are forced to, it makes it much easier for you to be in a position to delight your customers and give them what they need (and more). It helps you be one step ahead. It also allows you to stay relevant over time.
Have you ever walked into a restaurant that reeked of the 1980’s? How about visited a website that still looked like it was made in 1999 with all the yellow highlights and such? Don’t let that be your business. Don’t get stuck. Continue to learn about trends and things as they evolve. Make sure your business isn’t on the lagging end of being relevant to the things that make it useful for your customers today.
- A while back I got some t-shirts made. The first shop I went to for on-demand shirt printing used a heat press. While I was able to get a feel for how the design looked on the shirt, I wasn’t completely sold on the way the shirt turned out from the method. Later, I went to a different shop, and they used a fancy machine to print the design on the shirts digitally. I was impressed. And the shirts came out great. I mentioned the experience with the heat pressed shirts to the guys working in the shop. They told me the heat press was “old technology.” I was sooooo happy to find the new shop that utilized more up-to-date technology to get me a better quality product. And at the same price, which was icing on the cake!
- When I first got my website built, I wasn’t thinking about making it mobile responsive. But as time passed and the amount of web traffic via mobile approaches 20%, it became clear to me that I had to make my website mobile responsive to be relevant and maintain a good user experience for my mobile visitors.
- Monitor trends and other statistics that are happening both internal and external to your industry. For instance, the rise of mobile web traffic impacts all businesses that have a web presence, not just those in a particular industry. The more you know, the better prepared you can be.
- Set aside some funds in your operating budget to allow you to upgrade to new tools and resources as needed so you can stay relevant. Upgrades in many cases aren’t free, so you don’t want financial strain to hold you back in the ice ages.
Application for your business
- Write down a list of three sources within your industry you can monitor to stay on top of the latest trends and technologies. Next write down two sources external to your industry that you can monitor to help you keep abreast of trends that impact your customers and the way you operate your business.
- Take inventory of all your current resources you use to serve your customers and run your business. Now prioritize the list in terms of which resources will need an upgrade within the next 12 months. Then prioritize the list of things that will need to be upgraded within the next two years. Then prioritize the list of things that will need to be upgraded within the next three years.
1-22. Build a relationship with your customers (series)
23. Solve your customers’ problem
24. Know your stuff
25. Add value
26. Do what you say you’re going to do
27. Exceed your customers’ expectations
28. Be a purple cow
29. Be consistent
30. Be accessible
31. Always be one or two steps ahead
32. Give your customers what they didn’t even know they needed or wanted
33. Give your customers an easy button
34. Make common inconveniences more convenient
35. Respect your customers’ time
39. Teach your customers something new