What Are Your Competitors up To ?

Always stay close and keep a watch on what your competitors are up to. Innovative new products and services could just be the very thing that differentiates your business from your competitors.Remember this works both ways because your competition is not sleeping either.

Be your Competitor’s Customer

This may sound counter intuitive but it’s far from it. This is the best form of Competitive Analysis for use where your business is in direct competition and/or produces similar goods to your competition. It’s one of the simplest yet most informative methods to analyse your competition’s unique selling point. With the information you gather here, you’ll be able to judge how your business compares as well as the magnitude of the gap.

In the event that your business has no competition or is in a very small niche, why not flip this around and start exploring areas or businesses you may want to expand into.

Let’s delve into the type of information you should be after. Remember to always align and customise the following checklist to suit your particular business.

The Purchasing Experience

  • How much did you pay including any discounts / offers?
  • What options were available to purchase via (sales channels)?
  • Speed of delivery (if applicable)
  • What is the returns policy / money back guarantee?
  • If purchased in person, how friendly were the personnel?

The Goods

  • How many variations (if any) were offered?
  • How was the presentation/packaging? (if applicable)
  • What technology was used/ does it use? (if applicable)
  • What are the features and benefits?
  • What was your experience in using / consuming the goods?

The Quality

  • What materials make up the goods? (reverse engineering where applicable)
  • Are the goods fit for the intended purpose ?

Back Up Service

  • How accessible are the Customer Services?
  • How long does it take to get an issue resolved? (make up a small problem with the goods received)
  • Is there a FAQ or Trouble shooting guide?

At the end of this exercise, list all the  attributes and variables where your current offering/performance is below your competition. These become your opportunities for improvement .

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Why Most Business Improvement Ideas Run out of Gas

Article first published as Why do Most Business Improvement Ideas Run Out of Gas? on Technorati.

10 ways to give your improvement ideas a realistic chance of success

man pushing broken down car way back in the daysEvery day organisations worldwide identify millions of improvement opportunities worth billions of dollars in value to the business. Priorities are easy to agree, project teams are a breeze to assign whilst meetings become the default vehicle to deliver the promised potential.

As the weeks, emails, action plans, to do lists and Gantt charts go by, the number of opportunities that come to a natural dead end increases exponentially. Only a handful of the ideas are fit and resilient enough to make it anywhere near full potential. Ever wondered why those great ideas, including no-brainers never made it anywhere? Of the ones that make it through, how many remain sustainable?

We look at 10 things you can start doing differently to give your brilliant ideas any chance of making it past the brainstorm.

1. Have visible ownership and commitment from top management at all times to back the efforts. Without this sponsorship or vote of confidence, you’re push – starting a car uphill.

2. Define what success looks like in a manner that everyone involved in the project understands. Clearly articulate the potential value to be added in the eyes of the beneficiary (almost always the customer).

3. Agree and use measurable milestones at every stage of the project and most importantly at the “success” stage.

4. Agree mitigation triggers and escalation routes in the event that critical milestones have not been attained.

5. Assign only SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timeous) Actions to each action owner and have the discipline to follow through every single action.

6. Think and act like an entrepreneur, not a project manager by approaching each of these opportunities as though it was a business on its own. If this opportunity was the only thing your business did, you’d find ways to make it succeed and remove all blockers and minimise the risks.

7. Assign clear roles and leadership to allow quick and effective decision making.

8. Use any setbacks as an incentive and motivation to succeed by quickly accepting and learning how you could do things better.

9. Document, showcase and archive all successful projects for future reference and build a best practice library of successes.
10. Track and trend the previously agreed success measures for as long as necessary until the ideas become business as usual.

Photo Credit

Read more: http://technorati.com/business/article/why-do-most-business-improvement-ideas/#ixzz0x8VzbcB5

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