Turning Obstacles Into Opportunities
is not going to come banging on your door screaming, "Open the door
– I'm here!" You have to actually seek it out. Being successful, or
at least staying successful in the world today, is a tough challenge
here in the United States as well as abroad. How we tackle the
challenges we face will determine our future success or failure.
family owns and operates 100-year-old fresh fruit and vegetable
delivery company that was directly hit by a tornado in 2004. The
thought as to whether we would rebuild wasn't even in our thought
process. Rather, we began to think about how we could build our
company to be bigger and better than before. Thus, we began to
explore all types of ideas for expansion. We researched how trends
of the twenty-first century.
youth and baby boomers alike are embracing a healthier, “greener”
lifestyle. Our company sells a health product – fresh fruits and
vegetables. We were in the ballgame with our product line, but who
else could we sell this product to? We were already in restaurants,
schools and food service providers. As we looked further we realized
that the majority of decision-makers were women. The challenge of
how to reach a woman consumer was the issue. We found women in large
companies across the country. All we needed to do was create an
office delivery service to complement their existing coffee and
snack food services. We were going to offer the healthy snack
alternative – and thus expand the business to reach greater sales
and greater profitability.
can you find a solution to the tough economic climate we are all
facing? Open your eyes and ears because opportunity is all around
you. Often, we are so busy staring at the missed opportunities that
we fail to see a new one emerging. Hindsight is indeed 20/20, but if
you dwell on the challenges and missed opportunities then you will
be blind to the new ones that are right in front of you today. This
doesn't mean to jump at every idea that comes your way but rather to
explore all the options that might be viable solutions to your
one ride the wave of a tough economy? Companies in the U.S. are not
the only ones that are facing the challenges of the world events.
There is hunger, homelessness, and jobless people across the world.
Pakistan, the Prime Minister is encouraging Chambers of Commerce to
help facilitate solutions. In Australia, the government is holding a
summit where policymakers are working towards strategies that will
tackle solutions 10 years and more into the country's future. The
government in Australia is encouraging a wide range of people to
contribute their ideas for solutions. All ideas are on the table
from 15-year-old teenagers to soccer moms and dads to the
policymakers. When you involve more people in the decision making
process, more people will buy into the solutions.
you might be wondering: what can I do now to meet the challenges
that my business faces today? How can I eliminate some of the pain
by fixing today's problems not with a bandage but with practical
problem solving solutions? Here are a few suggestions that your
company can start with:
Keep up with
technology. There is always a new product, software, machine,
etc. Ask yourself: Will any of these new methods of technology
help you in your business? Perhaps a software program that is
industry-specific can help you process orders faster. This might
help elevate some overtime from employees or help you make
products faster. Is there a new piece of equipment that will
help you make a better quality product or make things run more
efficiently? Does your Website need new technology to drive
customers to it? Know what technology is being developed so that
you are on the cutting edge.
Expenses must always be
less than your income to produce a profit. Transportation and
logistics companies face a rough challenge with fuel prices
skyrocketing every time they turn around. In our company's
industry on a local level it was not the norm to charge a fuel
charge but with ever increasing fuel costs we had no choice. A
few customers voiced their opinion at first – then they saw how
much more our competitors were charging for fuel and the voices
tapered off. Sometimes you just have to make slight changes to
keep expenses in check. Look at ways to you can cut expenses to
keep profit levels acceptable. Put all ideas on the table, and
then look at the savings for each item on the list. All those
dollars can add up to thousands in a short amount of time.
Add value to your
service or product. Expansion is a solution for some companies.
Our family’s company took an existing product and figured out a
way to sell what we already had in stock to a new customer base.
Start slow to work the bugs out of a new idea, and then market
it to a new target customer. For example, Realtors could
consider offering home staging services as part of their options
to serve new listings. Retail companies might offer product
demonstrations. Determine if you can use the existing product
and support and expand without incurring additional expenses.
Partner with suppliers
and other businesses to create excitement. You can bring in
expert speakers, host a product demonstration to showcase your
products or services. Atlantic Laser of Jacksonville Beach,
Florida sells office products. They hosted a tradeshow in their
warehouse with some of their customers and suppliers being the
exhibitors. They had Axxess Telecom their telephone provider,
Microsoft Vista Representatives, Avery Representatives and
others displaying their products. Each exhibitor invited guests
to attend the mini-tradeshow.
Tough times mean it’s
time to step up the marketing strategy. A great way to keep your
name in front of your existing customers and prospects is with
promotional products. Ed Alterman of Alterman’s Business Gifts
recommends using inexpensive yet highly effective products like
polo shirts. The cost is just pennies for a great amount of
exposure. Other favorite promotional products are coffee mugs,
water bottles, pens and T-Shirts.
Are you more of a hobby
than a business? Perhaps you have been working very diligently
over the past few years but the results have not been very good.
Have you made a profit for at least three out of the past five
years? If you answered no, then rethink your business model.
Sometimes we have to know when to hold them and when to fold
them. These are tough choices to make, but you must decide if
you are in business for fun or profit. This will be the deciding
factor in determining if you remain open.
today's challenges isn't an easy task. It requires a lot of thought
if you are to find true long-term solutions. But the new solutions
are the opportunities for growth in the future. How will you compete
in the world today and tomorrow? Everyone has made mistakes in the
past but you can't let those errors cloud your thinking. You must be
diligent in searching for the opportunities in life. After all,
difficulty and challenges will never go away. Open your eyes, your
ears and your mind, because you never know what opportunity you may
Read other articles and learn more
[This article is available at no-cost, on a non-exclusive basis.
Contact PR/PR at 407-299-6128 for details and