Staying Afloat In A Competitive Business Environment

Our streets, roads, the print and electronic media are awash with different offers from manufacturers and service providers. The one I enjoy so much is the one between the phone manufacturers. The competition is so hot that Apple and Samsung had to extend their “fight” to the court room 🙂  I also read online that one major phone manufacturer, and a one-time major player in the phone business, has been having some “survival” meetings with some organisations. How sad! But that is the nature of business. It’s like a game – no pity for the opponent and all the players cannot be winners.

As a consumer, I love competition for so many reasons. It affords us the privilege of having alternatives to choose from; it forces businesses (serious-minded businesses, if I may add) to see consumers as being the most important factor to consider and hence, be the focal point in business decision making process; it makes pricing to be at consumers’ advantage; it forces businesses to constantly seek for their loyalty; and it forces businesses that are not quality-conscious, to have a rethink……The benefits continues……

No doubt, as consumers are enjoying these benefits, businesses grapple everyday with the art of “out-smarting” one another in a game, an interesting one at that, that involves winning as many customers as they can, over to their side. Sadly, the inability to cope with competition is a major reason why so many businesses all over the world are finding it very tough to operate, and in extreme cases, many have “crawled” out of existence!

Competition has been the bane for so many businesses that have either not mastered the tricks of the game; cannot withstand it or have simply believed that businesses can survive on luck, mediocrity or chance for so long.

I got the urge to do this post after my wife started complaining that the number of businesses competing with her was rising every day. The fact is that the only way to avoid competition is to “close shops.”  Aside from legal monopolies (organisations given the legal power to be the sole producer or seller of a product/service), every business attracts other businesses in the same line of trade. Even where turnover/profit is not encouraging, or where a business enterprise is creative and launches an entirely new product or service, other people/businesses would still join the market and create competition.

So, since competition is inevitable, and the foundation of competition is “winner takes all,” what will a business do?  Apply for a legal monopoly status? 🙂 Well, I am not aware of any country where that is done. Cut corners? That too, is not a good business option as it is a short-lived solution that can even boomerang. So, what’s my take on competition?

Below are six [to avoid putting up a very lengthy post] of the tips I shared with my wife…..

1. See business like a boxing match. In a boxing match, boxers fix their eyes on each other to counter every move of the opponent. In doing this, they have to be alert and conscious of their environment – a case of complete alertness. Thus, businesses have to constantly be at alert – conscious of, and pre-emptive of competitors’ actions and inactions. I feel this among phone manufacturers this days. To me, competition among phone manufacturers is  good case study for my post.

2. Do something extra.something special.  Make your product or service very outstanding. Relate with your customers in a way your competitors are not known for. Give them a very competitive price, without lowering standards. Use marketing campaigns and strategies that your competitors have not explored or have not even thought of. Give your customers reasons to stick to you and give your competitors‘ customers reasons to cross over to you.

3. If making huge profits was your major focus, think of this : while you are busy chasing money, your competitors are busy strategizing on increasing customer base, including, of course, winning the hearts of your own customers over. So, my take on this is: re-strategise by making customer-focused strategies to be your main focus.

4. Where you do not see your customers for a while, do not wait for them. Reach out to them. In this age of high tech communication, distance or large number of customers is not an acceptable and reasonable excuse.  By just by clicking “enter” or “send” on your computer or mobile device, you can reach millions of customers. A simple message that reads : “Hi valued customer. I/we just want to wish you a splendid weekend” can go a very long way in reawakening a dwindled customer loyalty.

5. Every consumer loves convenience. Think of ways you can create convenience for your customers. There are many ways that this can be done. This however depends on the nature of your product. You can carve out time for home service, break bulk, arrange for delivery of the goods to the door-step of the consumers, ease usage, among others. All of these are aimed at satisfying different groups of consumers rather than seeing the entire market as being the same.

6. There is no doubt that the human resource “drive” an organisation towards growth, stagnation, decline or eventual collapse. It becomes MANDATORY therefore for businesses to engage and maintain(through motivation and excellent welfare and staff development packages) goal getters and workers who understand what business growth and success is all about. Thus, merit and not nepotism or sentiments should be a business’ over-riding criteria in employment.

Of special mention here, is the caliber of the CEOs and top management personnel who take far-reaching decisions affecting the entire business. This days, wrong choices of who pilots the affairs of a business would be a costly mistake as it could place a business on the path of failure, stagnation, inability to stand competition, and then collapse.

I hope you found my tips useful.  I would like to read your reactions 🙂

Thanks a lot for your time and wishing you loads of luck in your business 🙂

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Investing In God’s Business

Image courtesy:Ambro/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy:Ambro/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Do you know that giving to God is a very profitable, safe and guaranteed investment?

Recently, I got really upset by a colleague who paid back my favour with “evil.” It was really painful and least expected. Infact, I made up my mind to put on hold or even stop all forms of generousity that I was known for. To me, if good could be paid with evil, then it is better I kept my “good heart” to myself.

However, there was this emptiness that I felt. There was this unusual feeling that enveloped me. It was very hard to say “no” to those that needed my help. I was simply not used to it. In some way, I felt like I was losing something. This wasn’t me. How was God now seeing me. I had a strong feeling of guilt, cos He said to me “freely ye have received, freely give.” (Matt 10:8).

For years I can’t trace backwards, I have always  operated on : help someone today, for I could need help from that same person some day. More importantly, I have always seen helping people as “giving to God” – more like investing in God’s business. This has always encouraged me to help and reach out a favour even when it was not convenient for me. Guess what? In so many ways and so many times, God has shown me that indeed, He meant it, when His words said: “Let brotherly love  continue. Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. (Heb 13:1-2).

I was also privileged to know long time ago that the good things that we did (and indeed the bad things) to our fellow human beings were actually done to God as well. Read this: “For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. (Matt 25: 35-40).

For me, helping people gives me this internal joy and peace. It really feels good seeing that someone is in a better state through my tiny act of benevolence. This is usually the instant first “reward” I get. One fact is however indisputable – giving to God cannot go without rewards from Him. It would not be wrong to say therefore that giving to God is a very profitable, safe and guaranteed investment. The returns are not like that from man – it is always a special gift from the C.E.O of CEOs 🙂 “The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, and He addeth no sorrow with it” (Prov 10:22). This, to me, is special. Sometimes, the returns might not be something physical. It could be keeping you and your family in perfect health, favour from many quarters and a general aura that makes you special and outstanding every you go, and in everything you do.

So, I am not going to allow anyone to keep me away from this kind of investment and returns. Would you? I refuse to be foolish !!! The “returns” have been good for me, and I know it’s going to get even better in Jesus name, amen. How am I so sure? It is written: “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men…” (Gal 6:9 – KJV). And you know what?  “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” (Num 23:19-KJV)

So, give, help and do good to people, ignore ingrates and watch your “investments” and “returns” rise and rise and rise….for “he that watereth shall be watered also himself.” (Prov 11:25)

Thanks for your time 🙂

Related post:

Promotion comes from God…not man?

Equipping ourselves for a “case” against God !