Keeping Your Small Business Relevant in a Constantly Changing World

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Welcome to my series of podcasts that will help you to navigate those inevitable, difficult events at work that are part of being a small business owner.

Today, I want to talk about how to keep your small business relevant in a changing world. 

It’s said that in business, change is the only constant, and this is true no matter which industry your business operates in. Whether it’s changing trends, new technologies, legislation, or new opportunities or threats, things are constantly shifting. This is why the most important thing you can do is to take steps to keep up to date with industry trends and make sure your business stays ahead of the game. 

So, what can you do to keep your small business relevant in a changing world?

The first thing I’d recommend is to subscribe to trade and industry journals. They’ll tell you all you need to know about the current pressing issues and trends in your industry. Whether it’s a digital copy, or even better, a hard copy that you can sit down with a coffee and a notebook and read, you’ll learn valuable information that will help you stay one step ahead. 

The next thing you could do is to read consumer magazines, especially those that are relevant to your industry. For example, you run a catering business, and you read an article about ‘The top 10 complaints customers have about wedding caterers.’ This can give you a valuable insight into what people who may be in your target market want and don’t want, and you can adjust how you do things accordingly if needed. 

Another great thing to do is get involved in discussions with other small business owners either on LinkedIn or in Facebook groups about the tools and techniques they use to stay relevant. I’m not saying that you need to take everything on board, as one person’s perfect solution or idea might not suit you or your business at all, but you may be able to find a few pearls of wisdom. 

Looking around online is generally a great way to find out what changes are coming in your industry or to see what everyone is talking about. Look at your competitors’ websites and blogs. Do they all seem to mention the same things- a new technology or a piece of new legislation that’s going to shake up the industry? Take note. 

Aside from spending time online, which you probably do enough of already, you could check newspapers for reports on industry trends and innovation. If you feel like you don’t have the time to read, you could listen to podcasts or watch videos that are relevant to your industry. Podcasts are a great way to keep informed on the go; you can listen to them while you’re travelling or driving. Is there a leader or pioneer in your industry that you aspire to be like? Listening to interviews with them can be really inspiring and can spark some new ideas.  

And if you really want to get to grips with what’s going on in your industry, networking with small business owners and industry experts can give you some new perspectives and keep you up to date with what’s happening. Go to conferences and networking events and attend training courses. Even if you get one useful nugget of information, it will have been worth it. 

Some of the people you’re networking with may be your competitors, and while all is fair in love and business, it doesn’t hurt to keep a watchful eye on them and see if they’re responding to possible new trends. 

Remember, though, that no matter what others are doing, you have to be aware of what’s going on in your own business. Which products or services are selling well and which ones aren’t, and why? What are your customers complaining about? What are they happy about? Asking these questions can help you identify where changes need to be made and what is no longer relevant or useful for the business. 

Finally, you can’t ignore your customers. After all, without customers, your business would cease to exist. Talk to your existing customers and potential customers and ask for their opinions on what you do well and what you could do better. Ask them how they think you differ from the competition and whether they’d recommend you. This is an opportunity to gain valuable insight into what’s working for you and what’s not and to see potential opportunities and threats on the horizon. 

I hope that today’s podcast provided you with some good tips. I’ll see you next time for the next one in the series. 

This is The People Mentor signing off.

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