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6 Ways to Stay Relevant in a Fast-Paced Marketplace

Every day new companies are born. Some never make it past their infancy stage but others have just the right amount of gumption (and maybe a little luck in timing) to lead to amazing growth.

Whether you’re a quickly growing company or one that’s been around the block a few times, the business landscape of today’s world is more competitive than ever. The smartest companies act nimbly in order to remain relevant and valuable to their customer-base. Below are six steps to cut through the crowded marketplace:

1. Lead with “why” not with “what”:

Simon Sinek, author of “Start with Why,” says that “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” It doesn’t matter if you have an excellent product or offer an amazing service if you don’t share your company’s purpose, your reason for existence.

Whether an individual or a company, the greatest leaders inspire others who are like-minded and share the same values. “The goal isn’t to do business with everyone who needs what you have. The goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe,” Sinek shares.

2. Know what your company is not:

Your company doesn’t have to be great at everything. Just like people, a jack-of-all-trades and a master of none isn’t a viable business model for long-term success.

If you’ve found that your company is wearing too many hats, maybe it’s time to reflect on what you do really well, and redirect your focus into refining and improving upon that product or service. How can your business be more innovative, more knowledgeable or more effective? Few companies become successes overnight. It’s those that strive to be better day after day that accomplish goals, retain talent and celebrate successes.

3. Get an outside opinion:

Sometimes you’ve been working at what you’re doing for so long you forget about how others view you. At Red Fan, we like to say that your company is “sipping it’s own Kool Aid.” We get it, you’re proud of what you do and so you should be! But when you’re too involved in the day-to-day, it can be hard to identify problem areas.

The best way to avoid getting into a mindless rut is to let trusted advisors, from outside your company’s walls, give you candid feedback. They’ll help you see your business from a different perspective and provide fresh insight into what you do well and what your company can improve upon.

4. Don’t ignore the competition:

Even if you don’t see any immediate threats, keep an eye on the competition. If people see dollar signs in a particular industry you can bet your children’s college fund that your business will have competitors pop up or old companies “reinvent” themselves as they attempt to make themselves more relevant to buyers.

And it’s not always the real competitor that’s the threat. The real risk is who the target client perceives as your competition. Know who these companies are and what messages they are putting out there to your target audiences so that you can do step four.

5. Tell your story, differently:

Once you’ve taken a good look at your competition, figure out what makes your business different. Work that differentiator into your messaging, your culture, and your mantra. Your company’s positioning statement should highlight why you do what you do and clearly distinguish you from your competitors.

And your positioning statement is just the start. Your messaging should be consistent at every consumer, employer and investor touch-point. There’s nothing worse than confusing messaging that leads to a slow and painful company death.

6. Don’t miss opportunities because you aren’t prepared:

Keep your marketing materials, case studies, business cards and website up to date so that they are readily available. You don’t want to miss out on an amazing opportunity because you hadn’t taken the time to be prepared. As my undergraduate professor, Dr. Phil Clampitt, would say: “Be ready anytime, anywhere and any place.” After all, you never know who you might meet next.

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