If you’re a business owner, you need to be constantly looking forward for upcoming trends in your industry. If you don’t, you’ll be faced with the very real possibility of extinction.
Remember Wang computers? If you do, you’re probably saying to yourself right now, “Whatever happened to Wang?” Well, Wang Laboratories, makers of word processors, got chunged right out of the computer business.
They went from enjoying a $3 billion a year revenue stream to bankruptcy within the span of a decade. PCs gained so much popularity in the market; no one wanted a Wang anymore. It is likely Wang never saw it coming. These days, you’d be lucky to get five bucks for your old Wang word processor at a garage sale.
Failure Was Preventable
Wang didn’t have to fail like it did. Sure, there were likely many underlying reasons, which we may never know, that contributed to their bankruptcy. But if some person high up in the Wang Laboratories had the foresight to guide the company into the next generation of computing, it’s possible you’d be reading this article on a Wang tablet right now.
The moral of the story is, you can’t let grass grow under your feet if you want to still be in business 10, 15 or 20 years from now. The hungers of the consumer, advances in technology and changes in the way society thinks as a whole, demands that you be innovative, creative, and flexible in your approach to your products, customer service and brand.
As soon as consumers sense that your products are starting to show cobwebs, you’re in trouble.
What Does Your Business Future Hold?
So, how can you design a better future for your company?
Here are some ideas:
Hire an Outside Design Firm
If you don’t have the internal resources to improve the designs of your products, seek out an outside design firm to do it for you. There are many firms to choose from. The ideal firm will understand your business model and your customer profiles.
Listen to Employees
Employees are the eyes and ears of your company. They hear all the praise and complaints about your products first hand from the customers’ mouths. Go to your employees and ask for their feedback regarding possible product enhancements or new product lines.
Hire an Internal Creative
Your employees have lives outside your workplace. As the following article shows, it’s possible you may have the unstoppable designer on your payroll right now who has already given some thought to improving your products. That person could be given the lead role on an internal team with a mission to come up with new products each year.
Crowd Source It
Hold a competition on your company website or social media page. Ask consumers to weigh in on new ideas for your existing products. You’ll be amazed at the interesting ways in which consumers think about your product. Give the winner something special, such as a chance to have input as to how their winning idea is manufactured and marketed.
Bettering your brand should be a top priority in your company; way up there with making sure your accounting is done accurately.
Otherwise, you might find yourself in the company of other businesses that have gone extinct.
About the Author: Kate Supino writes extensively about best business practices for small, medium and large companies.
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