Position Your Small Business for Success in a Rapidly Changing Market

Linda Ratner linda finals 9 MayJune24


By Linda Ratner, RN, MBA

While there is no one size fits all approach to position your business for success in the current marketplace, companies must find ways to adapt to stay ahead of the curve. Coming out of the Covid pandemic gave us many valuable lessons. While not all-inclusive and not in order of priority, these tips include:

Leverage External Partnerships

  • Form strategic partnerships, leverage social media and networking, and build positive relationships with customers and suppliers. Creating solid external relationships helps companies gain access to new markets, insights, and resources that help them succeed. One of my manufacturing clients was able to access much-needed metal during the aftermath of Covid because of their relationship with their vendors. This strong bond allowed them to continue to produce while others were at a standstill due to the limited supply chain.

Optimize Process Efficiency

  • There are many reasons why optimizing process efficiency in your business is essential. It can improve quality and productivity while reducing costs. It’s your company’s unique way of doing things, and this is a great way to differentiate your organization. More importantly, it provides clear direction to both internal and external stakeholders. By optimizing process efficiency, businesses can improve their bottom line and better position themselves for success while retaining talent because everyone is always doing things the right way.

Define and Actively Manage Your Culture

  • Not easy to do, but here are a few key things businesses can do to create and maintain a positive culture. First, clearly and frequently communicate the values and expectations to all employees. Second, encourage employees to participate in activities that contribute to a positive culture. Finally, take active steps to address negative behaviors or attitudes that could damage the company’s culture.

Communicate Openly and Transparently

  • There are many benefits to communicating openly, but one of the most important is that it helps to build trust. When employees feel like they can openly communicate with their managers and colleagues, it creates a sense of trust and mutual respect. This, in turn, can lead to better collaboration and a more positive work environment. Additionally, communicating openly can prevent misunderstandings and provide employees with the information they need to do their job effectively. In short, good communication is essential to building trust within a business.

Build and Maintain Strong Customer Relationships

  • This is important for businesses because it helps to create loyal, repeat customers. When customers feel valued and appreciated, they are more likely to continue doing business with a company. Additionally, strong customer relationships can lead to positive word-of-mouth marketing, which can attract new customers and grow a business. Plus, happy customers are likelier to give feedback that can help a company improve its products and services.

Hire and Retain Top Talent That Works Together as One Team

  • A-Players help businesses weather economic downturns because they are skilled and experienced. These employees can help increase productivity and efficiency, saving the company money. Plus, they motivate others too!

Continually Invest in Marketing

  • Marketing helps increase sales and revenue, which is essential for businesses struggling to make ends meet. Additionally, marketing can attract new customers and keep existing customers loyal to the company. Marketing can help to improve the company’s image and reputation, which can be valuable during difficult times.


  • Dependence on a small number of clients or vendors can make a business vulnerable to fluctuations in demand or supply. This can lead to financial instability. Additionally, diversification can help protect a business against losing a major client or vendor, which could devastate the business, particularly if they represent a significant portion of its revenue. Diversification can help a company build stronger relationships with its clients and vendors, improving terms and conditions.

Plan for the Future

  • By establishing the company vision, you illuminate a path that directs your team toward a destination. Setting goals keeps them focused on what’s important. Examination of the horizon and economic trends quarterly helps entrepreneurs make pivotal moves, preventing unwanted surprises.

Practice and enforce good Financial Hygiene

  • Keep an eye on the financial metrics that allow you to detect inconsistencies and areas of concern but pay attention to the other financial statements, such as the balance sheet and statement of cash flows. In finance, this adage rings true “Revenue is vanity. Profit is sanity, but cash is king!” Learn to manage the seven levers of cash flow (price, volume, direct costs, overhead, A/R, A/P, and inventory days) to hit your financial goals consistently.

In closing, remain calm and be consistent with your plan. Stay flexible and consider the value of different points of view. Business is complicated, and it’s impossible to have all the answers, so collaborate with other entrepreneurs and invest in working with a business coach to help guide you toward your goals.

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