Home – New Forums Marketing mastery What provides the life or death to a company?

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  • #967516
    Steven Hudson
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    The other day I received an email from an American company inviting me to some seminar and their attention seeking head line was as follows:
    “It’s a known fact that the life and death of a company depends on Innovation”

    …I thought for a moment then said to myself (I talk a lot to myself) ‘I don’t agree with that’

    While Innovation is important to the growth of a company but too much to quickly can also lead to its death.

    So what provides the life or death of a Company? Is it several things or one biggie?

    #1026763
    Steve_Minshall
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    Hi Steven,

    Without putting much thought into it I am inclined to agree with the inovation thing. I see my main job is to innovate. Find new ways to market, find new ways to present products, find new ways to do everything. If you don’t innovate then you stand still and that means you are actually going backwards compared to the competition.

    When I look back at the last 5 or 6 years in my industry at my suppliers, some have been innovating like crazy and some have rested on their laurels. The ones that have not moved forward are probably slightly better than they were 5 years ago but in comparison are miles behind the innovators.

    So it may not be the only thing that will provide the life or death of a company but its certainly up there.

    #1026764
    rowan
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    While I agree to a point, I have seen small business owners get so caught up in finding new ways to grow the business, but fail to provide for their existing customers, or fail to maintain what they have.

    Have you ever loved a TV program, then the producers go off on a new path with it in an effort to get new viewers, or to modernise it – and you have turned off watching it because it was not what you ‘signed up for’ – as an example.
    Small businesses who don’t have the resources of larger businesses, can’t afford to alienate their existing customers in the competition to get more, or different markets.

    Don’t be afraid to innovate, but know why your customers choose to use your business and look after that first.

    Cheers,
    Rowan

    #1026765
    Jake@EmroyPrint
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    Another good topic raised Steven,

    I agree that innovation is certainly a crucial part of being in business (Although agree with Rowan, no point making leaps a bounds if your customers are left behind).

    But I also think (as you said) that it’s not necessarily a “make or breaker” for businesses.

    In my opinion, success in business is a variety of things – Strong customer service, prompt service, quality products, competitive pricing, a nice website and my personal favorite, a smile.

    – Jake

    #1026766
    Arnold Shields
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    Innovation does not have to be a new product or service.

    Many of the best innovations are just a new way of delivering, supporting or marketing an existing product or service.

    Innovation can be a system for handling customer inquiries or new client setups or how a product or service is delivered.

    I agree that many businesses are continually looking for the next product that they forget to optimise their existing business to its full potential. The optimising of their current business is innovation.

    I believe the real key to innovation comes from really understanding your customers and potential customers – what they want and need, what turns them on – that understanding will lead to innovation.

    A book worth reading on this is Blue Ocean Strategy.

    Is is the life or death or a business – over the long term – yes, but only in terms of the goals and aspirations of the owner. A business can exist for a long time without any innovation but it probably will not reach the aspirations that the owner had when starting the business.

    #1026767
    ray_223
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    All great comments, my take –

    “Find customers and provide them with value.”

    #1026768
    Steve_Minshall
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    Arnold Shields, post: 31651 wrote:
    Innovation does not have to be a new product or service.

    Many of the best innovations are just a new way of delivering, supporting or marketing an existing product or service.

    Totally agree. While you mustn’t forget about your knitting while trying to invent the next ipod you must be dedicated to inovating all aspects of what you do.
    In my business I have the following examples which I see as being inovative yet still totally in line with my core business.

    Diving into PPC advertising in 2004 when no-one in my industry was doing it.

    Learning about SEO so that I knew more about it than anyone else in my industry.

    Getting into blogging before anyone else in the industry has even given it a thought.

    Now you could say that’s not inovating that’s just internet marketing. But in the context of my industry it is. I looked at new marketing possibilities that didn’t exist before, learned about them and applied that knowledge to get into the internet space before everyone else. First with PPC, then SEO, then using analytics, then getting into blogs. A lot of this is now business as normal for everyone but the inovation was being on the look out for the technologies and getting in first.

    After some months my competitors may get into blogging so then I need to be ready with my next marketing inovation, I don’t know maybe posting guides on Youtube, could be anything but I have to find something new or everyone will just catch up and neutralise my gains.
    I didn’t invent any of these things but seeing the opportunity that your competitors don’t see, researching it and testing it that is inovation.

    To me inovation is all about just having a giant radar working all the time. No matter what you are doing your subconscience is scanning for ideas. What are other people doing in other countries or other industries that may spark something worth investigating.

    I don’t know if inovation is ‘life or death’ but it is certainly at the core of grow or stagnate.


    @Steven
    , thanks for starting the debate it is an interesting one.

    #1026769
    Warren Cottis
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    There is only one answer to this question and it is the bane of small business.

    The answer is “the attitude and capability of the owner(s) to listen to their marketplace”

    You cannot innovate if you don’t know what is going on

    #1026770
    MatthewKeath
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    Sales or clients, without those you have no business.

    #1026771
    Steven Hudson
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    Hi There Everyone

    Great comments

    What about Cash flow? Enough capital? Profit?

    As Mathew stated sales or customers……. so considering that….. what about return on sales? How about the business plans?

    What other ingredients are special to the life or death of a business?

    Cheers

    Steven

    #1026772
    Steve_Minshall
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    Steven Hudson, post: 31835 wrote:
    Hi There Everyone

    Great comments

    What about Cash flow? Enough capital? Profit?

    As Mathew stated sales or customers……. so considering that….. what about return on sales? How about the business plans?

    What other ingredients are special to the life or death of a business?

    Cheers

    Steven

    Yes you can not really isolate one thing as critical to a business.

    My theory that I use to run a business is to see it as an entity supported by 5 pillars. If any one of these pillars is neglected then the business will be wanting. It is my job to rotate my attention around each of these supports to make sure none of them are ignored.

    1. Sales and marketing: who are we selling to, what are we selling, how are we presenting it to the market.
    2. Finances: counting the dollars and making sure we have enough of them to stay in business.
    3. Operations: How we do what we do.
    4. R&D: not just product development but research into improving all aspects of the operation. This is where the inovation comes in.
    5. Human Resources

    I think the death of a business will utimately come by ignoring any one of these fields or being very strong in one area at the expense of another.

    These 5 things are connected and interrelated but it helps my tiny little business brain to be able to step back from time to time and take a look at each pillar in isolation and make sure all aspects of business are getting appropriate tlc.

    Ok what area have I missed?

    #1026773
    Avatar Consulting
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    Interesting points and a good topic for strategy minded owners.

    I believe in Intelligence Innovation; You need to spend a portion of your time and resources looking for the next business wave to catch, but you also need to paddle your board still while waiting for it. Then you make an informed decision to take a wave and see where it takes you.

    Business die from lack of finances, plain and simple. I have seen businesses with no sales continue on because they have inherited more money or obtained another investor- so its not just about sales that bring in money.

    An average of 1 in 20 researched new products make the market place. This means that for a business to innovate it must be prepared to invest for the research of 20 new product ideas and then market the right one. This cannot be done without money.

    To prepare for innovation to be effective business owners need to plan ahead and budget accordingly.

    Unfortunately, business personalities are often grouped into distinct types, with innovative owners usually poor at general maintenance of a business, so you would need a business partner that is happy maintaining the business operations while you research and innovate to your hearts content.

    #1026774
    Carbonite Australia
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    Cashflow is the obvious thing but sales and marketing are the drivers of a business. When we launched Carbonite in Australia there was an expectation that people would simply recognise the brand (as its quite successful in the US) and come and buy from us.

    With very little in marketing budget we turned to the web to drive traffic through good SEO and some adwords.

    We also concentrated on good service, good follow-ups and strong email marketing to trial users. But the success we are starting to see is coming through engaging with the reseller community as well as using social media (forums like this, our blog and Twitter).

    Without any real marketing budget we needed (and still do) to look for ways to raise awareness about the product and offer. Google helps but only so many people will look for backup. Backup for most is something they are told about (by a techie or a friend)

    Thankfully its starting to show dividends but its been a long road.

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