Figure1: Turn and face the strange - your business needs to ever evolve. Graphic by artist Helen Green
OK I admit it. I was and still am a huge David Bowie fan. His passing was very sad but what a wonderful contribution he made to the world with his innovative approach to music and videos. I didn't realise it until after he died but one of his videos was shot in a hotel in Carinda western outback NSW near my old home town of Dubbo. If you have ever been to Carinda or played rugby there, it is a beautiful tiny town of 194 people consisting of a wonderful rural community with one of Australia's best police stations (it was meant to have been transported to Quirindi near Tamworth) but once they got it out there and after months before the mistake had been realised, it was deemed too late to take it back to its intended location!
For David Bowie to venture from across the other side of the world must have been a massive buzz for the town and showed the lengths he would go to do something different and unexpected.
Never afraid to embrace change through the 60s right up to the very end in 2016, his success raised a number of important issues that any business owner could benefit from. Here are some of my tips that will not only help your business survive but also thrive and improve its business valuation.
1. rebel rebel - Stand out from your competitors
The more you stand out from your competition then the easier it is to find people to use your products or services. This will in turn cause most business valuers to realise that your business is less risky compared to others and will adjust your business capitalisation rateup accordingly.
Sit down and write down all the things that make you different from your competition. Consider things that will make you stand out from the crowd. Could it be a:
- promotional prize giving competition;
- loyalty reward system;
- courtesy car/bus;
- free coffee and biscuits while they wait;
- free check up each 6 months etc etc;
You get the drift. Work out what the others are doing and come up with something that will make your target market go "WOW!"
Figure 2: Be a tiger and embrace change. Sitting back and waiting just doesn't cut it.
2. ground control to major tom - keep updating your industry knowledge
If you want to get better, you need to stay up to date with all the latest and greatest. Communicate with resources from afar if necessary.
How do you keep up to date so that you become the 'go to' business when change is occurring everywhere?
- Industry conferences;
- educational courses;
- subscribing to industry reports such as IbisWorld (your accountant should provide this resource or similar).
3. be a starman - Learn from the best!
Who is the best at what they do in your game? What systems and marketing are they doing? Look at their customer service program and compare to yours. Then see if you can do something even better than them.
These businesses tend to have better cash flow and whilst this could be because they are making more profits, work out how they are getting their cash in the door (trading terms, inventory management etc.) and see if you could be doing the same.
Remember, success leaves clues!
Figure 3: Look hard to see if you can see what others might be doing well even if it's it's difficult to find.
4. dancing in the streets - take action & enjoy the spoils
It's one thing to sit down and look at the above as well as so many other things you can do to improve your business.
Draw up a business plan that goes for business growth and write down who is going to do what and when by.
David Bowie was the master of reinvention and also intrigue. These two traits are critical if you want your business to fast track itself to success. Go back to the image at the top of this blog and imagine what it would look like if it was the image at different stages of its life. Does it still look the same when you started or has it evolved and changed successfully as it's aged?
It's never too late to start.