ImageThe leading challenge for business is to continually develop.  Numerous people have written countless articles on how to grow your business.  Prescriptive, pragmatic and sound they fail to achieve results.  Some lament that its because the measures do not apply to their business scenario, others fail to recognize that change formulas are frameworks that are simply the building block starting points.

Everyday we read about companies who have achieve revenue growth (the positive), but fail to see that the are losing market share (the false reading on the positive).  You cannot build or sustain growth without market dominance, even if your part is just a small part of the total marketplace.   We have seen, and we have also experienced, positive growth yet our market position is on the decline.  If a company is in a market decline situation how long will it be before it hits your revenues in a quite visible way.

Stopping the Market Hemorrhaging

There are a number of reasons why your business is loosing in the marketplace.  Image

  • Lack of product/service/image re-creation,
  • Lack of forward thinking (futuristic goals/ambitions),
  • Brand erosion – Overlooking Cult Following,
  • Unnatural customer care, and
  • Narrow or non-existing creativity (aka innovation for those who wish to use the word but don’t understand that you can’t train someone into being creative).

The unfortunate reality is that bold steps are difficulty for businesses and are on a par with elephants dancing in a ballet.  Training, coaching, guiding and action are all a part of the effort to achieve market presence.   But is this really enough?

Let’s examine when a company has or is on the brink of losing market.  Most recent ImageResearch in Motion (RIM… makers of the once popular Blackberry) reached this cliff.  While pronounced by revenue declines it was preceded by indicators in losing loyal market to fierce new technology.  What pushed the matter even more was technological and delivery issues that put the consumer squarely on the line to make a hard decision whether to abandon loyalty for the unknown (even while it was seemingly market popular).  The consumer opted for control and with low investment cost the shift took place.  RIM is now in market retrenching mode, calling upon past customers and trying to forge relationships with new consumers for the latest in technology.  A colleague of mine who has has done the journey from Blackberry to iPhone to Galaxy Note was one of those consumers who really liked his Blackberry.  It got the job done and despite the glitze, the hype and the utility of the smart phone it simply didn’t endear his loyalty… so now he anxiously waits for his new Blackberry.  This is just one example and there are literally 1000s of others that cover almost all of the technology items (computers, TVs, music devices…) to soap detergent.  Each and everyone one of the failures goes back to market maintenance and only gets visibility when its sometimes too late in the revenue numbers.

Conclusion

Don’t be fooled maintaining and growing market participation involves intense strategic and tactical thinking.  Its not something from a play book, if it were than everyone would be successful (or failing as the case might be).   It is also not solvable through a business transformation process.   A new coat of paint and a slight improved image are not going to overcome market share erosion.  Probably the most valuable take away is to understand, listen, participate with and dialog with your customers.   Don’t just focus on relationship in your backyard, but engage with foreign parties, businesses, individuals, resellers, partners and your own employees who may very well be customers of your business.

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