Get Your Business Out of the Comfort Zone
by Janette Blanco | February 27, 2018
For the last five years, I have been collecting data about my clients. We have discussed their challenges, their successes, their mission, and their vision. I often talk to them not only about how they are doing in the present, but also about what their future plans are, always remembering where they came from, and the lessons they learned in their journey.
I came to realized that the main reason why some businesses show a decline in sales or profit is because they get into an unbreakable routine, resulting in being very comfortable. When they get comfortable, it is very difficult for them to get out of their comfort zone. They think they are doing very well without realizing that they need to innovate and evolve.
In today’s world, things change constantly. Technology takes a very special role in that change and business owners struggle to keep up with it, resulting in lost business.
The truth is that if you don’t come up with better ideas, your competitor will. Entrepreneurs that are constantly evolving using the right tools are always ahead on the game. They are constantly paying attention to new technology, human behavior, and industry change.
I have heard a lot of reasons of why business owners don’t keep up with new tools, technology and strategies. The first one is, “I don’t have time.” My answer to that is your competitors do! They develop new products and provide new services, keeping up with society and customer needs. If you do not fulfill the needs of your customers they will find someone who will.
Here are nine suggestions for how business owners can prevent getting too comfortable.
- Get a support team. Stay in touch with Florida SBDC at University of South Florida consultants. Their job is to know where your industry is heading and how customers’ needs and trends have evolved. They will provide you with valuable information for you to make the right decisions for your business. It is at no cost to you. Have them as part of your team. Talk to them at least twice a year.
- Stay in touch with your accountant, your lawyer, your banker, and your insurance broker. They know what is going on in their area of expertise.
- Listen to your customers. Send a survey. Talk to them when they come in. Ask them what and how you can do better to satisfy their needs. Document it.
- Remember to work on your business, not just in it. I understand that business owners often play several roles in their business. However, they must find time to work on their business and seek new opportunities.
- Get involved in the community. Listen to other entrepreneurs talk and see what they are doing and how they are doing it.
- Research your competitors. Form strategic alliances with them if necessary.
- Always understand the why. Why is it that you are getting out of the comfort zone? Believe in your why.
- Enjoy it. Find excitement in the positive impact change will create. It may create more jobs. It may help more people and it may increase profit. Set up milestones to get a sense of accomplishment.
- Manage it well. Getting too comfortable lowers productivity but getting too uncomfortable does too.
Do not resist relationship building, innovation, and technology. On the contrary, embrace them. They will help your business grow. Be challenged and understand that nothing ever grows in the comfort zone. There are plenty of reliable resources out there to help you continue on your path to success.
Florida SBDC at Hillsborough County Economic Development Department
Specialty: Construction Industry Regulations and Licensing, Contract Compliance, Strategic Planning
Janette Blanco has extensive knowledge in doing business with the government and specializes in assisting minority and women-owned businesses with the government bidding process. She also teaches workshops, provides one-on-one consulting assistance to business owners in English and Spanish, and does community outreach throughout South and East Tampa. Prior to joining the Florida SBDC at Hillsborough County, Blanco was a cost estimator on engineering projects as well as owned and operated her own business for 15 years. She has a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Massachusetts. She is a Master Compliance Administrator, a Profit Mastery Facilitator, certified in Strategic Management Performance Systems, and a Lean Six Sigma White Belt. Blanco earned Florida SBDC at USF Regional Consultant of the Year honors in 2016 and 2017. Blanco is also bilingual.