Where will you be in 5 years’ time?
It’s a question most often asked of candidates applying for new jobs.
Their answers are usually a combination of:
- The Jokers – “relaxing on a beach, I’ll be a multi-millionaire!”
- The Hopeful – “running my own successful enterprise”
- The Risk Takers – “doing your job!”
As the old adage goes – ‘we don’t know what we don’t know’. However, finding ways to anticipate what the future may bring and planning accordingly goes a long way towards achieving both our business and personal goals.
In our market, where change is a given, how can you prepare and ‘future-proof’ the business you’ve worked so hard to build over the years?
1 Stay relevant to your customers
Building a strong client relationship will help you become a trusted business partner that adds value.
It sounds simple – and it is really. Go and see them, ask them about their business and goals and become part of the team. Find out the facts about their financials as well as their installed base of printers and customer supplies requirements. This will highlight the profit opportunity and will enable you to anticipate future needs and add value by offering pertinent offers at the right time.
2 Watch the market
It’s hard running a business in isolation. Read the industry news and keep up to date with vendors and competitors to arm yourself with all the information you need to be agile in identifying business opportunities and acting on them.
3 Choose business partners wisely
Successful business partnerships bring additional dimensions to your business and the rewards can be rich.
Choose vendors who have an interest in your success, a long term commitment to the products and services – and be prepared to invest your time and effort to make it work.
4 Be different
In a crowded market don’t get drawn into the trap of thinking you can only differentiate on price. This leads to a price war that no one can win. Future- proof your business to stand out from the crowd for other reasons.
Providing great customer service is one way. By demonstrating key skills, for example, specific industry experience or innovative service offerings that answer particular client pains, you can set your business apart from the crowd.
Remember to review your offerings from time to time and use your knowledge of customer accounts. These should also provide fertile ground for new ideas.
Know your customer’s installed base of printers to identify the opportunity to add value. For example, is Xerox Supplies Service something that they could benefit from? Plus, you’ll be aware of critical dates to be on hand to refresh hardware reaching end of life.
5 Play the long game
Building a strong and loyal customer base, differentiating your business with unique market offerings and working with partners takes considerable time and effort. The long game may not necessarily be the easy route, but the benefits include repeat revenues, more predictable pipeline and better profitability.
Future-proofing your business in this way means you’ll be able to answer my opening question with a lot more confidence. So where will your business be in 5 years’ time? What strategies and tactics are you using to play the long game? Do share your thoughts and comments below.
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