Often entrepreneurs get ‘tetchy’ at the thought of competition. This should not be the case. Competition makes you get to the top of your game and if you, as an entrepreneur are threatened by competition, you need to rethink your dream to be an entrepreneur.
Competition is challenging, through provoking, creative and most of all creating that edge that your business needs to stay ahead of the competitive pack. If you are still doing business the same way you did business two years ago, best you take a long hard look at yourself and your business and do some serious reflection.
Anthony Manning (1988: 30 – 31) identified eight challenges that face South African businesses. These include the following:
- rapidly increasing competition from new and unexpected sources
- changing demographics and psychographics (method used to describe consumers psychological attributes)
- new technology
- the new global economy
- the shift from manufacturing to services
- the proliferation of corporate stakeholders
- managing the new workforce
- the rapid rise of the green movement
(ICB Textbook Corporate Strategy for ICE Assessments April 2018 to March 2019: pg 2)
Technology has made business easier yet simultaneously more difficult. Information is now available at the touch of the keyboard which means that business has to be aware of changes in demographic of consumer, what consumers require/need or perceive they need. Businesses need to be alert to new businesses entering the market and tenured businesses realigning/shaping their business to suit the change in consumer demand.
Add to this the change in the type of employee, with Gen X and Gen Y and Baby Boomers all working in the same environment and all having different values and cultural norms. It is no longer a simple matter of managing staff/employees. This requires dexterity as a leader and a manager, with each employee having different requirements and needs. Training of staff is an ongoing requirement to keep up to date with changes and getting ahead of changes. Encouraging employees to take initiative and be responsible and accountable for their actions (see the next blog for discussion on this). Employee efficacy has to taken into consideration. No longer do we have employees that remain in employment with one company for 40+ years and receiving a gold watch for their loyalty. Loyalty is something of the past yet it is so needed in business today.
In order to stay ahead and keep your finger on the pulse, the entrepreneur needs to focus on their core business and not be sucked into the dream of diversity unless they have the right teams in place. For a SME (small, micro entities) diversity can often be the undoing of great plans and the loss of huge finances. Owners of small businesses cannot hope to have all the skills needed for business, therefore it is imperative to weigh up the contracting or employing of skills that the entrepreneur doesn’t have vs trying to do it all yourself. What will be compromised?