Winning the Future
That’s the theme of the State of the Industry Report, 12th Edition we published this month.
Our report emphasizes that winning the future will not be about company size, equipment configuration, ownership structure, or what we call ourselves. It will not be about getting better at what we’ve always done. And it will not be about some “wow” factor. Rather, we’ll win the future by committing to business practices such as these:
• Selecting opportunities carefully. The problem isn’t a lack of opportunity; it’s deciding which opportunities to pursue. Base decisions on thoughtful evaluation of what is and isn’t an opportunity given our specific resources, circumstances, and goals, not on what’s hot, what’s being touted as the next big thing, or what the competition is doing.
• Creating a culture of innovation. Purge the “we’ve always done it that way” mentality by encouraging employees to always be on the lookout for ways to improve efficiency—even if only a little because modest improvements made regularly add up to major improvements.
• Hearing the voice of the customer. This includes treating every contact with customers as an opportunity to better understand what they value most and never assuming that we already know.
• Acting on the voice of the customer. Carefully evaluate what we hear, prioritizing suggestions—we can’t do everything clients suggest—and decide which to pursue and which to back-burner.
• Showing clients exactly how they benefit from partnering with us. How much money have we saved them? How much time? How much have we increased the return to their direct-mail campaign or traffic to their website? The more precisely we can answer that kind of question the better.
• Purging the “if it isn’t broken don’t fix it” mentality. If something’s working we have to figure out why and never assume it will continue to work. If something isn’t working, we have to figure out why and never assume it will self-correct.
• Identifying and correct internal barriers to profitable growth. It’s so much easier to blame disappointing results on what’s happening outside than on what’s happening inside. But that will never win us anything.
When our industry was stronger, business simpler, and margins for error wider, we could be a little loose with these practices. Now their must-do’s—no ifs or buts about it. (Epicomm members have received a complimentary copy of State of the Industry Report. Non-members can purchase a copy at www.epicomm.org.)