MNC Consulting Group Newsletter
December 2014
Focus for Growth

 

What do successful businesses have in common? They dominate (or are really good in) their niche. Their focus is in only one or a few areas of specialization.

 

A business or organization without focus goes down a path that leads to nowhere very quickly. We can never be everything to everyone. That is why the world is dotted with vendors of specialty products and services.

 

A business that asserts itself into too many areas cripples its efficiency through too many crises and chaos. But when it focuses on its specialty, it not only achieves purpose, it also enables its processes to be efficient and productive. It is efficiency and productivity that enable its success.

 

But how does one pick a niche?

 

One way is to collaborate with your executive team to define your organization's corporate strategy including its core competencies. By setting goals and determining actions and resources required to achieve goals, the company can better position itself in its field of expertise.

 

Then divest the company of everything and everyone not directly associated with delivering on the strategy. By doing so, the company is able to narrow its focus and sharpen its intensity in pursuit of its strategy.

 

During strategy formulation, companies should also be aware of leadership qualities that will enable business success. These qualities include (adapted from Robert Herjavec's "Driven"):

 

  • Adaptability. Leaders have no problem changing direction suddenly when required.
  • Relentlessness. When focused on a problem, leaders are relentless in pursuing the solution.
  • Detachment. The ability to detach emotion from the situation to focus only on the business situation is critical.
  • Goal-driven. The ability to define the end result and figure out how to get there.
  • Relaxing. Knowing when to take a break from business is important to "recharge the batteries" and start up again.
  • Chip on Your Shoulder. Great leaders have a chip on their shoulder that keeps driving them to be better than others.
  • Seeking Opinions. Leaders readily ask for opinions from others and take them seriously.
  • Learning from Others. Gaining wisdom and learning from others is important to growth.
  • Mistakes. Making mistakes is normal and expected. Leaders learn from them and then move on quickly.

 

If your niche becomes crowded, your business may decline. In that case, don't ignore reality. Markets can decline and never rise to previous levels. Know when to cut your losses and move on to something else.  

Taking Business to the Next Level
 

The Internet, magazines, business books, associations, and perhaps your own personal experience provide a plethora of advice on how to expand one's business. Depending on what business you're in, expansion may or may not make sense. But here are some ways in which businesses may consider expanding.

 

Diversifying is usually what small business does first. This includes, for example, selling complementary products or services, teaching, importing or exporting yours or other's products, or becoming a paid speaker or columnist. If overhead is low in diversifying, then do it. But if diversification costs are high and the return on the bottom line is a really long way out, think twice before going this route.

 

Opening a new location is another way of expanding your business. However, start-up costs at a new location can run into millions of dollars. Even initial investments of rent (or purchase/lease), inventory, staff, fixtures and advertising will run into six-figure costs. Before opening another location, do your homework: Maintaining your bottom line is key, but growing profits is the goal.

 

Other ways businesses may expand include offering franchises or licensing business product. Either method may be successful, but with franchising, a business needs to be open to expanding how the business operates. As more people are involved, more opportunities and challenges present themselves.

 

Licensing product, on the other hand, can generate upfront monies and royalties. It's also a low risk way of selling your product or brand.

 

Another low risk expansion method is to form alliances with similar businesses. If you're in the business of coaching, why not join with an accredited instructor who teaches coaching and maybe develop an online coaching program? Aligning your business with someone else who can expand your prospective client list is the fastest way to success.

 

Targeting other markets, merging with another business, and expanding globally are other excellent expansion strategies.

 

But perhaps one of the easiest and quickest expansions is to take your business online. Bill Gates said that by the end of 2002, there will be only two kinds of businesses - those with an Internet presence, and those with no business at all. And we know how true that statement turned out to be. Develop an Internet presence and put together content that will meet the needs of your visitors.

 

However you decide to expand your business, the key is to ensure a healthy bottom line with a focus that helps strengthen your niche.

 

In My Humble Opinion (IMHO)
When I first started in the consulting business, I did almost anything that was asked of me. I had no focus other than whether the client would pay me for the work. As a result, I invested too much time in areas that did not help my long-term success. That said, I did learn a lot of skills along the way; skills that I find useful even today. While I believe that focus and a niche is the way to go when running a business, it doesn't hurt to learn a variety of skills while working toward building your focus and niche. Upon reflection, working as a jack-of-all-trades can actually be a very positive experience.  IMHO.
 

"Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can't lose."

- Bill Gates

 

About MNC Consulting Group
Our goal is to help you to dramatically increase efficiencies that immediately boost your profit margins.

 

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In This Issue
Focus for Growth
Taking Business to the Next Level
In My Humble Opinion (IMHO)
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