Keep Your Business Relevant

Having trouble standing out among your competitors? Looking for ways to get – and stay – noticed in the marketplace? If so, the following tips can help you turn your small business into something extraordinary: A business that moves, shakes and stays relevant (i.e. profitable) year in and year out. Here’s how to go about doing it:

Avoid the invisible middle

There’s a place businesses go when they play it safe called the “invisible middle.” It’s distinguishable by not being distinguishable, and it’s not an enviable place to be. For many businesses, the road to the invisible middle begins with a risk-averse attitude toward change that manifests itself across all facets of the operation, including products, advertising, hiring and more.

While the idea of eliminating risk has an appeal to many small business owners, it consistently leads to average solutions – safe approaches that may provide immediate peace of mind but lay the groundwork for future failure. Products that could be cutting edge are dialed back; advertising that polarizes gets diluted – all in the name of keeping the status quo.

Of course, there’s always a good excuse to not push it. Cutting edge product design might require engineers that are more difficult to find. And standout marketing might cost more. But by holding back you’re deferring progress that could lead to a breakthrough product, brand and business.

Take Apple, for example. Without pushing limits and accepting the notion that risk has its rewards, Apple might be Dell, Asus or any of the other middling computer brands that make up the invisible middle of the pack.

Commit completely

To run a relevant, standout business you must commit to the notion that your operation will matter day in and day out. This means leading by example and doing the things that have to be done to elevate your business profile. These can include:

Advocating knowledge

Attend the trade shows devoted to your industry and stay on top of competitive trends. Send staff members to the seminars that will make them better employees. Create a culture that refuses to accept the status quo.

Invest in potential

Don’t let competitors that have embraced new methods pass you by. Be the business others consider cutting edge. Invest in new technology and better ways to operate. Not only will this enhance your reputation within the industry, it will resonate in the marketplace.

Live for today and a better tomorrow

Determine what you as business owner can do each day to create a standout business with a bright future. Commit to the notion that an average day is unacceptable and strive to make a difference. Your actions will be noticed by employees who will find your enthusiasm motivating and infectious. Encourage them to make each day on the job worthy of their best efforts.

Turn fear into fuel

As you pilot your business into uncharted territory, realize that it’s okay to have a healthy fear of the unknown. However, know that you can use that fear to fuel forward movement. Recognize where risks are and take calculated moves to capitalize. Use fear as a catalyst.

You didn’t start a business to let it fade into the background. By taking the steps outlined here, you’ll not only be relevant, but you may also create a business and brand that stands out. 

*U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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