In the 2013 Florida legislative session as the two parties struggled to get the best leverage for their bills, a law was invoked that required all bills to be read aloud in their entirety before they were voted on. The reading of the bill would slow the process, which might keep some measures from being addressed before the end of the session. Legislative leaders, having seen the possibility of this happening, discovered a way to minimize the threat. The bills were placed into an electronic reader, named Mary, who presented the bills at faster speeds to the legislative body. A challenge was met with technology and thinking outside normal avenues.
Just as legislative leaders were prepared for a possible challenge, business people need to be aware of what might impact their companies and be prepared. Awareness gives the opportunity to plan ways to mitigate the problems and challenges that may come. Awareness gives them the opportunity to capitalize on the positive trends in their industry.
Technology is changing. Trends change. Customer expectations change. Competitors change their approach. Owners need to be aware of the shifting dynamics of their community – and the world – and how they impact their customers and businesses, and be prepared to change if needed. With better awareness of the activities influencing and impacting the market, a business can begin be more responsive to the customer and have a better possibility of keeping them.
Here are five areas businesses should be aware of and monitor on a regular basis to better know how to adapt.
- How are your finances?
Are you reviewing your profit and loss reports, balance sheets, and other financial indicators on a monthly basis, at a minimum? Awareness starts with the knowledge where the company stands financially. An accurate, timely accounting of the finances of the business gives the owner the ability to be more responsive to dealing with challenges quicker.
- Who is the customer?
Know who the customer is, what they are most likely to buy and why they buy it from you. Evaluate your business and look at what might cause the client to stop buying from you. Focus on ways to keep those things from happening or how to lessen their impact.
- Who is your competition?
Know the competition. Analyze the strengths and weaknesses of your competitor. Focus on ways to positively promote your business over theirs.
- Can technology help me gain an advantage?
Be aware of new technology and equipment that can assist you in the operation of your business. Be aware of technology that attracts your customers. Does the technology give a positive return on investment (ROI) by increasing sales or reducing costs above the cost of the technology?
- Do pending laws and other federal, state or local governmental activities present a possible threat or opportunity to the business?
Know legislation that is being pursued in your area. Know the legislators that represent you. Look to local chambers of commerce and economic development agencies for business related information.
Business owners who look ahead and assess the good and the bad that might confront the business have the ability to capitalize on the strengths and mitigate the harm from the threats. There may not be a need for an electronic reader named Mary, but the proactive, aware owner will try to know the threats and have an effective, planned response.