Navigating the “new normal” for small business

Photo courtesy of Pixabay and user markito

Photo courtesy of Pixabay and user markito

Since 2008, the small business industry has been brimming with uncertainty. Although the economy shows some sparks and sputters of a return to “normal”, one thing every small business can agree on — there’s a “new normal” in town. Learning how to acclimate to the “new norm” is paramount to the future success and survival of your small business.

Without a doubt, new trends are emerging that redefine the “new normal” for small business. Driven primarily by technology, they influence what your small business will need to do to remain relevant. With the rate of change exponentially charging forward, dexterity and responsiveness is today’s new normal. Status quo is no longer a viable option for small business owners.

Consumer customization

Wasn’t it Burger King who adopted the “have it your way” commercial in 1976? That was some smart, futuristic marketing! Who knew that a 1976 slogan would so aptly describe today’s consumer.

One size no longer fits anyone. Consumers are shaping the shopping and buying experience in today’s economy. They’re looking for – and buying – products or services that adapt to their unique needs, wants, and desires. To meet your clients call for customization, rethink your product/service offerings and make them more flexible. Think Gumby!

Sales transformation

The traditional sales model has been evolving for some time now. Consumers still want to buy; they don’t want to be sold. Advancements in technology, including robust websites, social media, and an inbound marketing approach, make it easier for consumers to make informed purchases.

Instead of relying on the “sales professional” to teach them the features and benefits of a product/service, today’s consumer are conducting extensive online research and making their buying choices. They self-sell.

As you transform your sales approach, think “pull” rather than “push” technology.

Continual change

Heraclitus, the Greek philosopher, was the one who said, “The only thing that is constant is change.” Although he penned this phrase around 400 B.C., many small business owners adopted a “set it and forget it” philosophy of business growth and development.

The rapid innovations in technology have certainly leveled the playing field for small businesses…but don’t get too comfortable or attached. Staying stationary is not a viable business option.

“Nimble and quick” — a term previously reserved for St. Nick — is the hallmark as small business learns to embrace a culture of adaptability.

Continual change

Heraclitus, the Greek philosopher, was the one who said, “The only thing that is constant is change.” Although he penned this phrase around 400 B.C., many small business owners adopted a “set it and forget it” philosophy of business growth and development.

The rapid innovations in technology have certainly leveled the playing field for small businesses…but don’t get too comfortable or attached. Staying stationary is not a viable business option.

“Nimble and quick” — a term previously reserved for St. Nick — is the hallmark as small business learns to embrace a culture of adaptability.

Smarter marketing

Over the past few years, it has become more challenging for small business owners to gain traction — especially if functioning as a generalist. Although you want to hedge your bet and “be everything to everyone”, the small business marketing message is getting lost in the ocean of marketing messages.

Marketing personas and niche marketing help small business owners pop up in the crowd with targeted messaging that is music to the ears of your target audience. It ensures the right people hear the right message at the right time and the right place.

In addition to targeted messaging, don’t forget responsive websites! Meet the client where they are — whether it’s in their office on their desktop or on the go with their smart phone. (P.S. 94 percent of smartphone owners are looking for local information on mobile devices.)

Data decision-making

Thank goodness! This is my personal favorite. Thanks to advancing technology (again), small business owners don’t have to rely solely on their “gut intuition” when it comes to decision making.

The widespread, and increasingly affordable, access to analytics allows small business to make smarter decisions with an eye toward a better return on their precious investments.
Whew! My head is spinning. How about yours? And, this is just the tip of the iceberg. With lots more changes in the wind, small businesses with adaptability, flexibility, and agility will lead the way. There’s a “new norm” in town! There’s no going back.

Whew! My head is spinning. How about yours? This is just the tip of the iceberg. With more changes in the wind, small businesses with adaptability, flexibility, and agility will lead the way. There’s a “new norm” in town! There’s no going back. Are you ready?

About Jackie Nagel

Jackie Nagel, Founder of Synnovatia, teams up with small business owners and entrepreneurs to develop strategic solutions to improve performance and accelerate business growth. By customizing business strategies to match the needs, desires, goals, and work style of the business owner, Synnovatia’s clients enjoy improved productivity, increased profitability, and accelerated business growth. In fact, her clients routinely enjoy an accelerated growth rate of 20 - 50%. As a business owner since 1978, Ms. Nagel knows first hand the ins and outs of growing a successful enterprise. She’s experienced the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. And, most importantly, she has a keen sense of what it takes to succeed in the 21st Century. Her style is direct, energetic, innovative, focused, and encouraging…with just the right mix of robust laughter. In addition to being nominated as Valedictorian from the “The School Of Hard Knocks”, Jackie received training at Coach University and Corporate Coach University International, is certified as a Personal Coaching Styles Inventory Trainer and Teleclass Leader, and received the Management Development of Entrepreneur (MDE) Certification from The Anderson School of Business UCLA. Follow on Google +.

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