How does your business stay relevant?
I offer web design and development services independently. I've noticed particularly in web that the industry is constantly changing with new tools and customer preferences. I imagine other industries face this same challenge. How do you keep your business up to speed and relevant? What resources do I need?
Know your customers and understand what their target market is like. Then match or better what's already out their.
The other problem you have is the culture of your client, and how they perceive themselves, and their infrastructures. It no point putting in place bells if all they have is whistles.
In order for your business to stay relevant, you must be updated with the happenings on your surroundings. There will always be a constant change. If you can't keep up, you will be for sure left behind. That best way to stay relevant is from the help of your audience. They can be your resources. Always remember whom do you give your services for. Engage with them, know their story, know their opinions. Gather important data from them that can help for your business. Let them speak for you to know what is best that you can do to make your business relevant for them. Always remember that there is always a man behind every business, decision, choices, technology or even in the evolution of our society. Listen to your audience. Listen to their needs. Listen to their wants and your business will stay close to them.
...as a commercial photographer, I've faced and continue to face the same issues...keep training, keep sourcing out new technologies to assess their relevance and importance to your work and by all means never rest on past success too, too much. That will kill your business sooner than you think.
I am always trying to break new ground by watching industry trends and applying my own tweak to it. It's a constant stress that has to be managed or you'll burn out. I exercise and garden. This move away from the business issues helps clear my head and think.
I also connect with industry players, colleagues, manufacturers and the like to see what their takes on the industry are.
Never give up or let your guard down and remember, technology removes the need for skill.
Richard Stern- Suggest you find a subject that you can be the authority. Then continue to follow up and add more information to the subject matter.
Customers will continue to get more information from you on specific matters.
Being an entrepreneur in any industry, it is very important to keep yourself and your audience updated about with latest techniques and happening in your industry. To speed up your business, you need to stay active in your industry. For that, you can use various online marketing channels to share about your industry. It can be your blog, it can be your business profiles, it can be your communities and most importantly, it can be your social media channels.
You can make best use of all these things to keep yourself visible in the eyes of your audience.
You want to survive and thrive and make profits which is what all businesses want and to do that you need customers of all sorts, from individuals to private & public companies. In terms of "relevant" is to offer what people want or need or even better both! You will always need to stay updated with the latest trends and what you competitors are offering or doing and then out price them or offer more/better service. Basically you need to be able to adapt to change or anything new in your industry.
The way to do it is to shift from "keeping up with what people want" to "being an innovator". In doing so you become one of the ones who bring about these changes, rather than one of the ones who continuously rack their brains studying new coding languages trying to keep up with the innovators.
Being an innovator isn't always about staying updated with all the newest methods and languages. It's about finding ways to take what you know to address new needs, or provide a solution to an issue people are having with the current model for doing things. Once you have that down the rest can be managed because you can always start figuring out how to translate a solution you concocted into a newer coding language. In fact having your own projects as a starting point will help make learning them easier as you'll actually have a list of things that need to be achieved with something you already understand which will make whatever you learn about the new language more meaningful than just following a tutorial on how to make it say "hello world" on the screen just to sit there afterwards like "ok..... how do I make this create an array from my database and plug it into the HTML model and how do I make it know to use that model for these things and another model for those things?"
I come across a lot of posts looking for Web Developers and just from the requirements they have listed it's CLEAR that they usually have NO CLUE as to what they really need. They just ask for all the latest stuff they hear people talking about but really have no clue as to what they are or how it can benefit them. Anytime someone posts a job that reads:
that shows they have NO CLUE as to what they really need. So don't let those demands make you feel inadequate because NOBODY is an "expert" in ALL of those languages with just 3-5 years experience, besides that people usually find their programming niche and stick to it choosing to evolve in that area. Ruby and Python are two languages that are similar but more suited to different purposes, what could they possibly be doing that requires ONE PERSON to know both? even if they were that enterprising and knew the difference, they would know full and well that if they have a need for all of those languages they'd be better off hiring A TEAM of programmers than finding that one magical individual because there's only so much one person can develop at once... which is why we have things like Slack and Github so teams can work together.
The point of steering in that direction is to show you that some of the things you see that make you feel pressured is actually indeed extremely ridiculous and un-realistic and it's best to not beat yourself up over it or even attempt to meet those standards, all you'll do is spread yourself too thin learning how to say "hello world" in a million languages without knowing how to actually build something for somebody.
Going back on topic, think about what you know so well you could do in your sleep without any effort and focus on that. Start thinking of ways to make things better through what you know and MAKE TIME to update your knowledge on the new versions/ branch languages that stem from it. Find different meetups in your city for web development and start going to them getting to know people and eventually become a part of their projects. Get to know other innovators who are working on ways to make things easier and better for the end user to see what's coming down the pipeline. If you know what's coming you'll be able to get ideas for how to position yourself with it and support it so when it actually gets here you'll have something to plug into it while everyone else is scrambling to update their knowledge to get on board.
As far as your day to day customers looking for a website of some sort, keep in mind that they're not code masters when they talk about what languages they want and that they're only asking for what they know is the latest thing. Instead show them how you can tend to their needs through what you're good at because in the end they just want their website to work they way it needs to work to accomplish their goals. If need be you can always bring in another coder who does know a language you're not proficient in and pay them to do whatever part is required.
You can also get involved in more open source projects if you have the time, which will make you a part of building the world the web lives in, rather than just building things to live on the web. Being able to show your hand in those types of things will always make a great impression as well as keep you up to date with what things are going to look like 5+ years from now. Being a lone wolf in your own corner isolates you from everything. Be more active in the community and find ways to incorporate yourself into what's going on whether it be an observer or builder. As long as you're on the platform some type of way you'll eventually link into something that keeps you "relevant".
You need to define what you mean by "relevant". Do you mean "technologically relevant"? If so, then that requires one answer. If you mean "state-of-the-art look and feel" then that requires another. If you mean "how to optimize a website to generate the most money" then the other. And, there are a bunch more.
The key is that you have to be really, really good at one of these and competitive with the market in the others.
So, how do you compete in the marketplace? Why do your customers buy from you? Which bucket are you in? Which bucket do you want to be in? Answer these questions first and you'll find out what you have to do to stay relevant.
There is no way for anyone to know everything, that much is true. Staying relevant "to your customers" is what on which you should focus. Sure, there will always be a new gadget, gizmo or widget that trumps the existing. In fact, there are several new and improved happening every day for just about everything.
Loyalty from customers should be your goal, and the tools will follow.
Today the world around is changing very fast.And if one sees the last one year every thing has changed and so has the concepts of Information And technology.So one should learn new things fast and implement it in ones day today business to expect the best results.And one should discard old methods .
Steve jobs said stay foolish stay hungry but that's a bit of rhetoric. You need to keep energised mentally n stay on cloud nine in the dot com industry nothing is real just like an adventure tale
Oh how I wish there was a magic bullet or an easy answer to this question. With all things changing so fast I'm not sure there is a remedy BUT I do recommend this- there is no question you are relevant to your existing customers and the new ones that come to you. ASK THEM what makes you relevant to them. You will find of course that the answers are diverse but among them will be some recurring themes. Do this faithfully and respond accordingly.
Study trending things in social media and locally. Then integrate that into marketing campaigns.
As an independent service provider, you have an opportunity to shape your business around who you are and what you love. When you do this, it helps keep you feeling good, happy and great to deal with, magnetic you could say.
You could decide to serve those who like what you like, and build a community around those activities. You will then develop a core of loyal friends who will happily refer you business opportunities. You will be doing business from collaboration rather than competition!
Who you are is far more valuable and relevant to your clients than the latest technologies. No one can be you better than you. Being your authentic self is the antidote to ever-increasing competition.
Enjoy your week!
My suggestion would be to make sure that you subscribe to industry magazines as well as attend a couple of workshops, webinars or teleconferences, which can give you valuable information. You can also sign up for email list for different vendors that you work with so that they can keep you informed of the latest technology or other things that are going on in your industry.
I've been in business for over 25 years and marketing has changed and has forced me to "evolve" as a person and company. It's hard to keep up with all the new technology, lingo and social platforms. Pick and choose what you need to keep your clients happy, referring you and have the ability to pick up new clients. There are a number of companies that provide white papers on new technology and talk to your friends and other people in your industry to learn about what's new and what you need.
The most important tool that every business needs is a living business plan that is updated every quarter by reviewing strategic milestones. If done well this will keep you attuned to changes in the marketplace and with technology.