Robust Business in Zero Visibilty Times
Making Your Business Robust in Zero Visiblity Times
Robust is a business term that describes a healthy business that easily assimilates changing environments while continually producing a high quality product or service.
A robust business adapts to downturns in the economy.
This adaptation may include a price reduction or simply holding the price down. It may also include an adaptation of the tastes and needs of the customer to include a more in demand product. A more in demand product now would include basic ‘needs’ products over high-end ‘wants’ products.
Customers still want to eat out for their pleasure but modify their want to include a less pricey dining venue. Chili’s, a middle market restaurant, is offering a two for $20 special where the customer is invited to enjoy an appetizer with two meals for the total of only $20.00. Denny’s continually updates their menu to include popular foods (Mexican is very popular now) and also offers low cost specials.
This is not like a restaurant that sees a business decrease and chooses to close evenings or keep irregular hours. These maneuvers will loose more customers! This restaurant very soon realized the folly of this and re-opened for evening business! Another example of is the local ice cream shop that closed on Saturday night! That shop is now closed and looking for someone to purchase it, any wonder there?
In the same vein of thought many stores such as Home Depot are realizing a market that is more apt to improve their home than purchase a new home. However, for those who do have their home on the market, they must provide a home product that is in excellent condition. This means they are also shopping for home improvement merchandise at Home Depot. Again, this is very nice for a home improvement store.
A robust business will look to the future and implement computer hardware and software that both increases productivity while decreasing overall costs. When requesting bids for the newest hardware or software, a busineess needs to include a full investigation of return on investment (ROI) specifications prior to or in the bidding process. How will this software save money or time or improve service while not increasing costs for the long term? Of course, the up-front costs need to be born by the company but will be amortized out over the length of time the hardware or software will be in use.
A robust business will also understand that the top three most important factors for any business is location, location, location. While it may seem costly to pick-up and move a business, it is more costly to remain in a poor location. The good news here is that landlords are sitting on vacancies that they desperately want to fill. The prospective tenant has a great advantage now.
The tenant can broker a deal with lower rent and caps on common area costs plus make demands on remodeling dollars from the landlord. These will ease the pain of re-location.
A robust business might also franchise their business now. A franchise is an excellent methodology of growing your business. The business owner must pay to set-up the franchise framework but the franchisee is the one who pays to build and outfit the business. The franchisee also pays the franchisor for the successful business model and systems.
There are people who are concerned about loosing their jobs that would love to have the security of owning their own business. Franchise businesses have a very high percentage of succeeding and thriving unlike new untried businesses that have a high percentage of failure.
So, a robust business is in a superior position to grow using the franchise methodology now.
Still, what can a business do to remain or become robust?
- Benchmark yourself against the most successful businesses in your industry. (Compare to, learn from, and imitate them)
- Visit those businesses and ASK questions of the owners, managers, employees
- Do what Appleby’s did and copy the Chili’s “two for $20” concept
- Hold a think-tank with your best employees and yes, customers. Ask them what they like and don’t like! (Hint: at a think tank, all opinions are accepted and no one is ever made to feel uncomfortable for their ideas!)
- Guerrilla Marketing may be for you, if you think you have a great business but you just can’t get the word out? (see the link below)
Robust businesses are run by people who get out of their offices and places of business. Practice MBWA; manage by wondering around, from Tom Peter’s Excellence book. Implement what you learn while you wonder around. If it doesn't work, well just stop doing it and try something else! Keep trying!
Make your business a robust business!