Running a business is a bit like surfing; you have to ride the waves as they hit or risk going under. This is especially true when it comes to navigating market forces. Flexible, dynamic and unpredictable markets have the power to swiftly impact your business. Remember record stores? There was a time when it was hard to imagine a town centre without an HMV or Virgin Megastore, but now they’re a rare sight. For both businesses, the market changed to a degree which meant they simply couldn’t survive in their previous form.
Company culture provokes much discussion: over what it is, and how best to create and encourage it. Best practice often leads us to Google, which rarely seems to be out of the ‘top places to work’ lists, with its free meals, massages and dry cleaning.
Innovation, innovation, innovation. It’s an easy word to throw around, and after a while starts to lose all meaning. This company, product or person is innovative, and innovation is key.
A friend of yours invites you a charity gala dinner organised by her business. By coincidence, you both turn up at the same time, her Jag just beating your Golf into the car park.
What do Jet Skis, Hoovers and Velcro have in common? They’re all brand names that have become shorthand for their respective categories. No-one asks for a personal watercraft, a vacuum cleaner or a hook and loop fastener. We all fall back to the brand name, and everyone understands. Owning a category as these brands do is a differentiation utopia that is tough to achieve. But differentiation shouldn’t be ignored: it can make or break a business. Getting it wrong can gradually eat away at your bottom line to the point that you’re only competing one way: price. The good news? Marketing can help.