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How to cope with threats to your business

From the second you launch your business, threats will emerge from all angles.  We’re no different. Since our launch in 2003 we’ve been subject to the spectrum of issues that exist.  For example we’ve been victim to aggressive competitor tactics such as a rival brand copying our website word for word.  Some say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery but the reality was far from positive.  Our retail website, the cornerstone to our business and a result of tireless commitment to devise the best customer journey, was ripped off with another brand reaping the benefit.

We’ve also fallen victim to oscillations in consumer behavior.  Currently it’s all about the environment and the reduction of print. While we are passionate about reducing our own carbon footprint, and helping our customers to do the same, at the end of the day, we need to encourage business to keep printing!

Thirdly a long-term threat is the evolution of need in line with technology.  Today’s consumers still like to print off documents.  But as the younger generation gets more adept at editing on screen, the need for printers will dwindle.

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Don’t let the threats get you down

Threats come at you from all angles and in all shapes and sizes.  It’s easy to become obsessed by them.  Our tip is – don’t.  It’s important, of course, to keep your finger on the pulse and have a healthy amount of paranoia to navigate issues on the horizon.  However it’s more important to focus on improving your business model and achieving the goals you’re striving for. This is a much more constructive task than trying to swot away a myriad of potential problems that threaten to drown up by quantity.

Targets, targets, targets

Make sure you keep on track with the growth that you’ve envisaged.  We have a five-year plan, which is then broken down into a one year plan, and then quarterly targets.  This means on a daily basis we’re working through the small wins that make the five year plan possible.  With a robust plan in place, you are developing a fortified model that will see off small threats.  Allowing you to concentrate on the challenges really worth your time.

Worrying gets you nowhere

I was anxious when Amazon announced their expansion into the office supplies market, considering their buying power and economies of scale.  However it transpired there was no reason to lose sleep.  While Amazon has grown year-on-year, so have we.  We couldn’t do anything to stop Amazon entering our market but, as it turns out, we didn’t need to.  The impact on our business has been minimal.

mmary, it’s your business you need to focus on, not what your competitors are doing.  Keep focused on your objectives.  With those in mind you have a clear idea of where you want to be and which – if any issues – you need to consciously navigate.  Leaving you with the time to sweat the big stuff – achieving the goals that make your business something you’re proud of.

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