It is true. These are challenging times we live in. More companies will lose market share and sink into oblivion than at any other time in history.

While this is truly a sobering reflection, it should be a source of optimism too. After all, for each failure there will be a story of amazing success. Some of the greatest business leaders that will ever live are just now stepping onto the world’s stage. These leaders will move their companies into position to launch their long-contemplated strategies for market share growth. The successful companies will have at least one thing in common.

What is it that every company will do to thrive now and later?

These companies and the managers who lead them will narrow their focus and deepen their offerings.

This is a counter-intuitive statement. Yes, we all know companies are trimming costs by cutting labor, but this is often at the expense of service and true productivity. In fact, few companies are really cutting their offerings in the market. Some companies have even increased the number of products or services they offer while struggling to make their existing offerings relevant. This is a mistake.

If this is a mistake, what can managers do right now?

Here are a few steps that managers should take Monday morning:

First, managers must send the message to their teams to rethink how work is done. They must demand results measured in profitability that is double the norm in good times. This message must be delivered with a sense of urgency, but not tainted with threats of job elimination. The goal is not to shrink the company. It is the goal to create profitability.

With over a decade of operations improvement experience, I have found that the best ideas come from the field. The line level employees are the ones who face the customer or deal with the problems of the business in the most intimate way every day. They already know what needs to be done and they are likely to have a plausible work-around solution for each problem. Systemize the solution and empower the employees to take action.

Second, managers should narrow their product offerings. After step one is complete, products that consume constrained resources AND are not profitable should be put on hold. The products that are profit leaders should be elevated and operations should be realigned to support production increases in these offerings. Employees who can be moved to profitable operations from discontinued offerings should be as quickly as possible. The morale of the employees is critical to the company’s continued success.

Managers must also include internal products or services which offer little or no true benefit to the end customer. One of the maxims I believe in is this: “If it benefits the customer, the customer will pay for it.” Marketing and sales messages may have to be altered to impress prospective customers with the value of the offering.

Third, ask your most profitable customers what their biggest problems are. Use these problems as opportunities to add depth to your product or service offering. Tap into the negative emotion to determine how you can alleviate it with more information, services, or even a newly formed customer community. Many of these solutions require a minimal investment but offer substantial differentiation of your company from the competition.

Why would you take these steps?

I have identified four key reasons to take the steps outlined above. Reflect on these and you will see that they are true in your company as well.

First, broad product offerings diminish focus and increase the complexity of operations. Complexity leads to exponential increases in expenses. It also causes confusion in the minds of your customers and lowers the likelihood of winning sales.

Second, a narrow focus forces the company to develop an expertise which exceeds that of competitors. In essence, the narrowness creates tremendous force that allows the company to go deeper faster in the offering than the competition can. Every good salesperson knows that you sell more to your best customers more often. The depth of your offering will allow you to continue to sell to your best customers continuously.

Third, your expertise can justify a premium price and should result in lower operational expenses. This increases profitability from two perspectives and insulates you from the competition. In addition, you have more profits to invest in research and development which further deepens your offering and expands your expertise.

Finally, when you narrow your offering, you should also narrow your customer base. I strongly recommend that you find a niche customer base to make your offer to. There are a few ways to do this. One way involves choosing a particular type of customer for the offering, such as a specific industry. The alternative is to narrow your sales process so you only focus on the top ten percent of customers in an industry who are also in the top ten percent of spenders on the product or service you are offering. You create a natural word-of-mouth marketing machine when you actively focus on only the best prospects.

It is true that success leads to greater success. But the only way to build greater success is to continue to grow your employees.

How do you grow your employees with a minimal investment?

The answer is simple. Invest in a training program that engages them a little every day and changes how they think. Rewire every employee’s brain for success.

You can invest under $99 per employee and start them on a 30-day training program I created called ProfiTornado. This program expands their success orientation and their engagement in your company’s mission.

By investing in ProfiTornado you will create more profitability—potentially a 20% to 50% increase—in spite of the economy.

Visit www.ProfiTornado.com for more information about this revolutionary training program.

Author's Bio: 

You can contact Tony Bodoh through info(at) profitornado.com or 877-826-2521.

Tony Bodoh is the President of Tony Bodoh International. His firm coaches executives to create organizational alignment. With a focus on aligning the thinking, relationships, and processes of an organization, Bodoh has a track record of creating extreme value for customers. Bodoh created a web-based training program, ProfiTornado, which teaches 30 of his most powerful lessons for individual and organizational growth. See profitornado.com or tonybodoh.com for more information about Bodoh’s coaching.