Dan Kennedy is often heard saying “Money loves speed”.
While that is likely true, it seems that money also despises a few other characters: the laggard, the do nothing and the shows up 5 years late.
One of the distinct advantages that small businesses have over the box stores and franchises is that it takes those two groups of businesses months, if not years to roll out a new program.
First they have a zillion meetings.
Then they prototype it, test it in-house and finally pilot it in a few locations, then they make adjustments and finally do what it takes to roll it out nationwide.
In their case, that’s often the way it has to be. When you have 4500 locations, you can’t easily make knee-jerk decisions. The changes in the logistics of delivery to your stores is enough to keep someone busy for a while, much less changes to their proprietary equipment, labeling, marketing, training programs and so on.
That’s a good thing – for you.
Why? Because you can move fast. You don’t have 4500 locations. You don’t have custom-built equipment in most cases, or if you do, it wont change because of a new product.
Moving faster than everyone else is a difference maker, often a big one.
The downsides of being first to market are few and far between.
You might get copied, in fact, you might get copied by someone with far more assets and ability to deliver than you have.
Your market might not understand what the heck your product is, much less why they need it. I’ve been there. Once successful in conquering that monster, once not.
You might just be years ahead of the market recognizing why your product is so revolutionary. If that happens, you have a marketing problem, but then again, would Steve Jobs have been able to sell the iPhone in 1972?
Maybe it would’ve been easy selling to Star Trek fans back then 🙂
Being nimble means being quick to market. One prominent example: Apple. They announce a product and it’s typically available 6 weeks later, if not immediately.
You, being the small business owner, can be even faster. Many of the things we talk about here can be implemented today – or at the least, the implementation can start today.
Sure, it’s tough adding one new product line a month, or adding a new product to an existing line each week, or implementing a new customer retention strategy every month.
It’s uphill all the way.
Be nimble and you’ll likely be the only one climbing that hill. Worst case, you’ll be climbing that hill faster than everyone else – particularly if you are using systems to streamline your operations.