Modernizing Your Business Thoughtfully and Logically

Picture of Gina Blitstein Gina Blitstein combines her insight as a fellow small business owner with her strong communication skills, exploring topics that enhance your business efforts. That first-hand knowledge, matched with an insatiable curiosity to know more about just about anything, makes her a well-rounded writer with a sincere desire to engage and inform.

Modernizing Your Business Thoughtfully and Logically

The speed of today’s business can be fast and furious. Technology, trends, information, best practices can all change in the blink of an eye. It can be challenging - even exhausting - to keep up with it all, even though you don’t want to fall too far behind the times. But do you really have to keep up with it all?

Frankly, unless your business is in the business of being cutting edge, you can probably relax any urge to constantly have and implement the newest of everything. In fact, depending upon your customer base, you may even be safe coasting a while without concern for “today’s flavor.” All technology and business practices don’t necessarily have to be applied to your business. In fact, updating and “improving” things too frequently may actually confuse and inconvenience your customers.

That being said, it is important to stay current enough that you don’t appear stale. No one wants to use a website that looks and works like it was built in the ‘90s. No one wants to dine in a restaurant that hasn’t been redecorated in decades. No one wants to have limited ways to pay you for your goods and or services. As times change, there are certain concessions to progress a business must make in order to meet the expectations of its clientele.

So how do you know if or when it’s appropriate and helpful to upgrade, enhance or expand things in your business? Consider these issues:

Are you meeting customer expectations? In many instances, your customers will let you know that you may be falling behind because they’ll be requesting things you don’t yet have.

Remember when customers started expecting businesses to:

  1. have a website
  2. have a website that displays on smart devices
  3. provide a baby changing facility in the restroom
  4. accept electronic payments
  5. provide public wi-fi
  6. be handicapped accessible
  7. provide paperless billing
  8. have 24-hour availability

These are the types of things that, over time, businesses needed to adopt in order to remain competitive with other, more cutting-edge companies. Once they became more widespread practices, it was expected of all businesses. The need trickled down until these modernizations became commonplace. It’s important to keep an eye on what businesses a little more cutting-edge than yours are doing to keep up with customer demands. That way, you’ll be able to plan for your own company’s modernization to cover the expectation.

Is growth stagnant or or are you failing to gain new business? You may notice that you have a number of “regulars” but few new faces coming through the door. If you’ve fallen into complacency and haven’t shaken up your business’ appearance, offerings or operation in longer than you can remember, it’s time to freshen things up. Doing so will energize your current customers and the changes will make new customers take notice of you.

Try these techniques to reinvigorate your business:

  1. redecorate/renovate your workspace
  2. rebrand your business
  3. launch new products and/or services
  4. repackage your existing products/present your existing offerings differently
  5. update your marketing verbiage
  6. institute new incentives for employees to motivate them differently
  7. assess policies that have “always been done that way” to determine if a new approach could improve performance
  8. embrace new technology and services (at a level that is comfortable for you and your employees) to keep your business working more productively, efficiently and effectively

There’s no need to change everything all at once but steps toward keeping your business fresh and modern make a big impact on both customers and employees.

Above all else, keep your ideal customer in mind when modernizing, An example I’ve recently encountered is with an organization of primarily older Americans that, for 25 years has sent out paper newsletters. Now, one would think that in this day and age, a paper newsletter would be considered passe and that people would prefer the ease and convenience of an online newsletter… but not these folks. They insist that they prefer the paper format. In this case, it would be unwise for an overzealous “modernizer” to recommend that they switch to an e-zine; doing so would alienate those on the mailing list.

You can modernize your business effectively without needing to keep up with the furious pace of those on the cutting edge. Remember to keep the needs of your particular business and its ideal customers top of mind. Remain vigilant as to modernizations your competitors are making so you won’t fall behind. From time to time, freshen up your offerings to invigorate your brand and attract new customers.

How do you keep your business modernized?

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