Being at the vanguard of your industry can be an exciting – and scary – place to be, and there’s no guarantee your new product or service will capture the imagination of the public.When it works though, you will be in pole position to mould the habits of consumers, positioning you and your business as a leader, or even a visionary. But this doesn’t mean you can rest on your laurels. Even the most innovative and successful businesses are at risk of complacency creeping in. Those leaders who don’t keep a watchful eye on the market, can find themselves falling behind, especially in sectors experiencing fast and sudden growth. Following the recent craft coffee boom, Union Hand-Roasted Coffee had to adapt. We have 20 years’ experience, but suddenly there was a slew of new artisanal coffee roasters on the scene. Our task has been – and continues to be – to stick to our core values and to maintain our position against the newer companies that have disrupted it. Doing this meant answering some tough questions, and so we wanted to share with you our ten commandments of being an established business in a growing market. (1) Use your experience. As an experienced player, you’ll naturally have a deeper knowledge of the industry and it’s important to communicate this, both to customers and to others in the sector. This not only puts things in perspective but it also gives you a competitive edge. (2) Take a long term view. When a sector takes off, you’ll suddenly have all manner of new competitors, all of whom have different offerings to the customer. It’s vital to remember that you know the customer inside out and that you’ve seen first-hand how demand has evolved – arguably leaving you better placed to predict the way the industry is headed. (3) Don’t follow, lead. This is crucial. When the new competitors arrive, some may earn some quick success with new tactics and new visions, and you may be tempted to follow suit. Be careful about this approach and stick to what you do best wherever possible. (4) Use the surge in popularity to your advantage. A growing industry usually brings with it an influx of customers, benefitting all in the market, new and established. As long as you don’t shy away from competition, your business will be in an excellent position to take advantage of this. It’s also worth remembering that you may well be able to learn something from the fresh perspective of new entrants to the market. Curious to find out more commandments? Read on to find out how to develop your business on your own terms, get involved in trends, and discover the golden rule.
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