Sometimes in business we start with a product or service, a solution to a very specific problem. It’s very clear to us, and it’s clear to our prospects and our clients.
We have great messaging because it’s easy, because we understand the problem we solve. We can build our message around it.
And then something happens that changes where we are.
The economy takes a turn, the market shifts, the problem ceases to exist. We have to be watching for those signs, not so we can lay people off, hunker down, and wait for better days, but so that we can shift; so we can make a change in order to continue to be successful.
Small Business Strategy Example
Here’s an example of what I’m talking about: A snowplow business will do great as long as there is snow. Imagine what happens to that business when it is winter and there is little to no snow; when it is 40 degrees outside.
That could destroy a business. If they don’t have contracts so they are dependent on the number of pushes, they could go out of business. Suddenly there would be no work because there is no problem for them to solve. They were expecting that winter was when they were going to make the revenue that was going to carry them through the rest of the year. After all, it usually snows in the winter in their state.
There are two things all businesses can learn from a situation like this:
- All businesses, especially seasonal ones, should try to adjust so that they aren’t totally dependent on a particular season, or target market. They should watch the signs. Are there things they could be doing in the off season? Are there other people or companies who could use what they have to sell? In this way they could level out their cash flow.
- If they find themselves in a situation like the snowplow driver in winter in a state like Ohio with no snow, they have to ask themselves the question — what else could they be doing?
In our example, the snowplow is on the front of a … pickup truck. That means there’s a truck bed in the back.
They could start doing moving, or rubbish removal, or connect with flippers and remove the debris and all of the junk from the house that is being flipped. They could talk to people who help with cleaning out houses where hoarders are living. They don’t have to take on this work when it’s snowing and they have plenty of plowing work to do. But they could take on the work when there isn’t snow.
Thinking like this increases flexibility. It provides the company with another service, target audience, and revenue stream. It’s this sort of watching for the signs and then planning, shifting, adjusting that makes all the difference. Being able to plan for the possibilities, and consider other uses for your equipment, skills or assets, will help you avoid being the victim of circumstance.
So, watch your environment, be open to the signs, and shift as necessary.
Shifting Photo via Shutterstock