by Ian Cowley, managing director of www.cartridgesave.co.uk
Your business will be victim to numerous threats in its lifetime. We’re no exception, constantly facing challenges from competitors and changing consumer behaviors.
For example, two years ago one of our rival brands duplicated our website copy word for word. As a consequence our website, a result of our tireless commitment to perfect the best possible customer journey, was completely ripped off. Unfortunately for them they did not offer the customer service we did. Meaning even though they stole our words, they couldn’t steal our customers. It was still frustrating to see our hard work replicated on another site. Some say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery – we don’t agree!
By the same token changes in consumer behavior are a continual threat to our business. Currently consumers are becoming more aware of their environment and the way in which their lifestyles affect the planet. We are therefore continually challenged to provide our service whilst also reducing our own carbon footprint, which in turn enables our customers to do the same.
Similarly, we also have to consider how advances in technology will affect the demand for our products. Our customers still like to print documents, but we recognise that the need for printers will dwindle as the younger generation gets more adept at editing on screen.
Based on what we’ve learnt, here are our three top tips for protecting your business from threats:
1. Maintain a healthy amount of paranoia.
Threats to your business are inevitable; don’t let them get you down. A healthy amount of paranoia will help to navigate any issues on the horizon but it’s important not to become obsessed with them. Instead of focusing on potential problems, we recommend that you invest your time in focusing on your ambitions and achieving your business goals.
2. Keep on track.
Ensure you have growth plan in place and stick to it. By developing a fortified model you’ll be in a stronger position to see off threats and concentrate on more important challenges.
We work towards a five-year plan, which is then broken down into a one year plan and then manageable quarterly targets. Breaking down our workload into daily tasks means we’re working towards small wins, which all add up to make the five year plan possible
3. Don’t worry, relax.
When Amazon announced their plans to begin distributing office supplies, naturally we worried about the knock-on effect to our business – considering their buying power and economies of scale. As it transpired there really was no need for us to lose sleep as the impact was minimal and, like Amazon, our business continues to grow year-on-year.
In summary; focus on your own business, don’t waste valuable time and energy on your competitors. Ensure you are aware of potential threats but try not to dwell on them. With clear plans in place to deal with threats you’ll be in the best position to achieve your business goals.
Ian Cowley is the managing director of the UK’s largest dedicated printer cartridge company – www.cartridgesave.co.uk.