No matter what industry you’re in, if you’re a small business you probably feel like a tiny plankton in a huge ocean. So, what can you do to stand out?
One effective route to success is to become an authority within your field. After all, there’s nothing that brings in new clients better than being considered an expert. You can do this in several ways. You could do interviews, write a book or introduce innovative new products.
Possibly the most difficult route, but one which cannot fail to get you noticed is to solve your industry’s biggest problems. By addressing the bone-aching problems within the your industry you will set your company apart by showing yourself to be knowledgeable about your subject and aware of its shortcomings, and to care enough to want to find a solution.
Let’s look at an example in the electronics manufacturing industry. New standards and regulations are pushing electronic manufacturers to consider their social responsibility when making decisions and to include sustainable engineering strategies to satisfy the growing trend for environmental awareness. The entire lifecycle of a product must be considered; from manufacturing, with the use of harmful chemicals and human exposure; to consumer use, with the consumption of energy; to the end of its life, with waste disposal and complex disassembly.
This costs money and in an industry with steadily shrinking margins and higher product performance and quality expectations, this can be a real problem. Yet, electronics manufacturing leaders will define the solutions and find a way to make it work. They will work to ensure continuous process improvement and will invest in systems and processes, and then they will share those solutions.
If your business is seen to be the one to introduce a workable solution to a problem. Not only will potential customers become aware of who you are, but fellow industry experts will consider your company to be at the sharp end of the industry.
How do you become an authority in your industry? Here’s a step by step guide to becoming a problem solver in your industry;
- Work out what the problems are – If you’re already running a small business within a certain field of expertise, you probably already have a handle on what the issues are. So, clearly define the problem you want to solve.
- Why does the problem exist? – Now that you have the issue you want to eliminate, have a look at why it exists.
- Narrow down solutions – There may be several different ways to approach a problem. But concentrate on just one or a couple of clearly-explained solutions otherwise you risk overwhelming and confusing people.
- Break it down – It’s all very well having a fantastic solution to a problem, but if nobody knows how to put it into action effectively, chances are it won’t be used until another business gets hold of it, tweaks it and takes all the credit. Break down your suggested resolution into a step-by-step actionable plan. This will make your suggestions easier to digest, understand and implement and more people will follow through to completion, making your problem-solving strategy more successful.
- Repeat steps one to four – So, you’ve successfully solved an industry problem? But your solution will only put you at the top of the list until another business swoops in to solve the next problem.
If you make it your mission to solve the problems of your industry as they arise you’ll establish yourself as a business who can lead the pack. Set yourself apart as an industry expert and you will reap the rewards that it brings.
Photo credit: David, IMG_4151