Are You on the Fast Track?

PolarExpressI saw this Polar Express replica at my husband’s school’s holiday concert and pageant this week.  It got me thinking about what it takes to keep your business in the express lane.

Being on the fast track is not the result of some favorable external set of circumstances nor the generosity of someone or something you think holds the reigns on your fate (like Santa Claus).

Being on the fast track is in internal phenomenon.  It starts with a decision to be on the fast track.  It’s knowing that you’re on the right track.

So, how do you know you’re on the right track?  That too is up to you.

In the Plan to Win in 2010 workshop I conducted last week, we talked about the “sweet spot” in your business. That spot is the intersection of 1) Your Offer, 2) Customer Needs and 3) Timing.

Now 2 of those things are external to you and your business.  Yet the astute business owner understands the interplay of the three and is flexible and adaptable enough to capitalize on the mix rather than succumbing to the apparent lack of control over 2 and 3.

Here are some things you can do to flex, adapt and capitalize.

1. Survey your prospects and clients
One of the biggest mistakes business owners make is thinking they know what the market wants and needs.  Call some of your best clients and ask them what’s next for them and what they need in the next 6 months.

2. Reassess your skills, talents and expertise
You are an expert in your field, yet you may be missing out on opportunities to improve your profits.  Whether you eat fast food or not, think about how you could apply “Would you like fries with that burger?” to your business.  Come up with new ways to offer what you already have. When you don’t, you’re leaving money on the table.

3. Reposition your products and services to meet current needs
By understanding what the market is most hungry for now, you can tailor your marketing, packaging, and sales conversations to address those very issues.

4. Drop your lowest margin products/services unless you have a clear and effective strategy to upgrade purchasers to something else.
You’ll never get ahead if you keep offering only low-cost items for sale.  True, some low-priced options are helpful, but trying to thrive on low-cost volume will keep you working day and night.

5. Take a longer term view
Many business owners fall into the trap of selling, then working, then selling, then working.  Without a long term plan, you’ll end up living hand-to-mouth for the rest of  your life. You need to know how – and when – you’re going to invest and improve your self and your business.  You need to know what you’re going to differently so that your revenues grow at rates that outpace the economy.

You have more options than you see and more control than you take.  You have the power to hop into the express lane and stay there.  Dream big.  Be bold. Take action!

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