Danville, KY -- (ReleaseWire) -- 11/14/2019 -- In the digital age, staying relevant means that one can't rest on their laurels for a moment. Continuous improvement and constant innovation are the keys to staying ahead of the pack. New trends, products, and habits develop on a daily basis and part of staying relevant involves recognizing changes in customers' wants and needs before your competitors do.
Here are some tips from Josh Tarter, a consultant with experience that will help business owners stay relevant.
Know the Importance of Relevance
Some business owners already feel out of the loop and don't want to struggle to keep up. It's all a matter of perspective. Staying relevant means the difference between moving forward in your career or as an entrepreneur. Anyone reading this doesn't want to stay in the same spot forever. Whether a competitor is a franchise down the street or Bob from across the hall, staying relevant is the key to evolving past the current situation.
Recognize When Things Are Changing
OK, so things are always changing. This is about big changes, sea-level changes that one can capitalize on — if approached before the competition does. To accomplish this, pay attention to what's happening in the industry of interest. Join professional associations, read the latest books and articles, and talk to other leaders in the field. Trade shows, open houses, and conventions can reveal the product line that becomes the next bestseller. Stay in tune long enough and start to recognize what trends will evolve into crazes soon enough to capitalize on them.
Enrich Knowledge, Then Apply That to Business
To remain relevant, a business has to be valued by others. This could be leaders in the company, distributors who consider the company a good partner and push its products or a prospective employee who sees the spark and takes a chance.
The easiest way to gain trust is to provide knowledge that prospective customers don't already have. To pull this off, take classes, shadow experts in the field, do whatever it takes to gain more than pedestrian knowledge in the field. For example, getting an MBA or technical certifications, or hiring people who have them, is a great way to gain invaluable insight into the financial management and IT industries, respectively.
Embrace Cross-Industry Innovations
Tarter adds, "From my experience, you're far more likely looking outside your industry than in it for innovation. For example, when I'm dealing with a personnel issue or trying to attract employees with a certain skill set, I look for individuals with experience in other fields who can provide a fresh perspective. Consider hiring an engineer to run your product development team or a business leader to consult with an out-of-touch IT team."
The consultant goes on to say he spends nearly two hours a day reviewing journals, articles, and resumes from other industries. Some of his top inspirations have come from this research. His motto is to never stop learning.
Put Customers First
Some things never change. Focus on the customer. Reach prospective clients and customers where they like to hang out. That could include targeted social media campaigns or experiential events on the lawns of college campuses.
Tarter says it's important to engage the customer, so reserve a high percentage of marketing and ad spend for channels that allow customers to comment, share ideas and provide rich feedback to inform your decisions. When customers consistently bring up problems with product availability, pricing or performance — pay attention and fix it fast.
Don't Be a Blackberry
What went wrong? Studying companies like Blackberry provides deep insight into how hubris and lack of innovation can kill a company — even if one starts out with a monopoly on the market.
Blackberry was a mobile communication device, a precursor to the cellphone. Hollywood stars, CEOs and the insanely rich didn't go anywhere without theirs. It allowed users to receive emails and make phone calls on the go. But they failed to recognize what was happening in the industry. New technology-enabled companies like Apple and Android started to develop smartphones, which made Blackberry obsolete. Tarter says, don't be a Blackberry.
For more information visit http://www.joshtarter.com.
About Josh Tarter
Josh Tarter helped grow the start-up, Stateline Steel in Columbia, KY as Owner/Operator. He has since passed on the day-to-day responsibilities to focus on two new start-ups, to be announced in the coming months, while still maintaining an ownership position. As the President at Stateline Steel, Josh Tarter has combined financial and business planning with tactical execution to optimize long-term gains in performance, revenues, and profitability. He not only improved the company's efficiency, he also reduced the cost of the business' operation.
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