Back when I worked downtown, I had a BlackBerry. Everyone did. Savvy companies even gave them to their employees in order to reach them more easily after hours and on weekends.
As far as I can tell, the downtown-y types still wield their BBs. But nobody else does, and that has become a problem. Faced with lagging sales and the increasing dominance of the iPhone, Blackberry has put itself up for sale.
BlackBerry attempted a comeback with its latest smartphone, but it seems a case of too little, too late. Public perception has turned against the once-darling Canadian company. How do small businesses learn from the failures of this tech behemoth?
1) Listen to your customers. It doesn’t matter if you’ve invented the best widget on the planet if no one is interested in buying it from you. We know plenty of entrepreneurs who started out with one offering only to change course based on feedback or demand. Rather than rolling out your vision, your business may end up being dictated by your clients.
2) Be flexible. Few entrepreneurs have a perfect understanding of their product and their market out of the gate. Successful business owners pay attention to where they are gaining traction, and why. They’re able to shift their attention to promising markets and offerings. This flexibility — the ability to shift gears quickly when required – is one of the key reasons small businesses can compete against much bigger rivals.
3) Take stock. Yes, you need to be open to new ideas, and be flexible enough to make a change that will create value, but keep your head screwed on straight and have a plan for what you’re doing. As an entrepreneur, you have the opportunity to routinely take stock. You won’t always know if you’re going to make it, but you can probably tell if you’re moving in the wrong direction. Pull up, make the necessary adjustments to keep or start moving in the right direction. Look at where you’re at. Make sure you’re on the right road and keep on trucking.
As small business there are many ways we can’t compete against the big guys. We don’t have the capital — human or financial. But what we lack in size, we make up for in agility. Let’s use the advantages that we’ve got.