Founding and building up a small business is very rewarding but can present many challenges. Amongst these is making decisions about how to prioritise your time.
It is all too easy to become embroiled in day-to-day tasks that are not necessarily taking your business to the next level. Clearly keeping the show on the road is important. But successful business owners learn to step back, see the big picture, get the helicopter view and look at what is needed to grow their business. In short, they know the importance of working on not just in their business.
One of the key issues is to look at everything you do from outside-in customer perspective. But in addition, it is important to stand back and reflect on what is happening in your marketplace, and, in particular, to keep a close eye on what your competitors are doing.
This is not so that you need to slavishly follow the competition in a me too way. But taking time out to observe your competitors will give you ideas about what innovations are working and what are not.
Remember what they say: success leaves clues. So, looking at the big competitors in your marketplace, and also your smaller, more local competition, is a constant source of ideas and will trigger fresh thinking and keep you on top of your game.
Checking out what is going on can range from informal monitoring of competitor websites and some fairly informal mystery shopping to see what is happening, through to more organised programmes of competitor research.
In our Excellence Tools online programme The Success Blueprint: Seven Excellence Tools for Small Businesses we we provide you with a selection of techniques that you can quickly implement, even if you are busy, so that you always have that big picture view.
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