Rest on your laurels and you’ll lose your edge.
Are you the top of the food chain in your industry? Perhaps you own a monopoly or are a forerunner? The best of the best; a giant amongst your rivals?
Are you a Blackberry? A Sega? Perhaps you have as much market share to lose as Kodak did to Fuji. Where are the giants of industry from the past? Is there a hall-of-fame for the “ones that were”?No.
Complacency is one of the direst threats to a business, and it is just as relevant a threat to multi million corporations as it is to small business owners. Once you believe yourself untouchable, you are vulnerable to your competitors; and in a market built on competition, your days therefore are numbered. Your best innovation is only another stepping stone to the next-best-thing, and if you’ve thought of something new, the chances are that someone can think of a better, faster, cheaper way of doing it. Well, that’s the doom and gloom of it all.
On the bright side, if you are the new entrepreneur with grandiose ideas, the gap between you and the top isn’t as wide as some would have you believe. And if you already have your slice of the pie, your continued success relies on your ability to mitigate complacency in your business.
The 5 major warning bells of complacency are:1
1. Resistance to change.
2. Being unfamiliar with the competition.
3. Extended period since your last internal product, service and procedure review.
4. Lack or decrease in new business/clientele.
5. Loss of market share.
So what can you do? That’s easy. Here are the top tips to battle complacency:
1. Always be learning. Know that there’s always something new to learn and be humble enough to admit your weaknesses.
2. Always adapt. The digital age has heralded unprecedented innovation so be sure to remain ahead of the marketing game and abreast of new developments. Online shopping can contstrue an extinction event to proprietors relying solely on the walk-in customer in certain industries, and are your competitors exploiting social media to gain an edge over you?
3. Think ahead of your competition. If you’re reactive to their innovations, the opportunity cost in getting up to speed with their products or services might mean your demise. Be proactive.
4. Time spent thinking is not always time wasted. Spending too much time pushing out product in a frenzy can muddy the waters of what’s going on around you. Take a step back every now and then, look ahead and decide if you’re going in the right direction.
5. The bottom line is not the only thing that matters. If you’re just a report-reader chances are you’re missing out on ways to better your business. Know your people, processes, and product as far as is possible, especially if you’re a small to medium enterprise.
6. Don’t procrastinate. Nobody got ahead by simply thinking about it. Plan and implement. Exercise caution where caution is due, but if you find yourself procrastinating, stamp it out. Life’s scary, deal with it.
7. Judge ideas on their merit and not their source. A good idea can come from anywhere, and even the most experienced business men and women may give poor advice.