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How to adapt to risks and threats

I once heard a store about a bookstore owner who had the misfortune of being located between two giant bookselling competitors.

One day, the bookstore owner came to work to see the competitor on his right had unveiled a huge banner: ‘Monster Sale! Prices slashed 50%!’ The banner was larger than his entire storefront.

Worse yet, the competitor to the left of his store had hung up an even larger banner: ‘Gigantic Clearance Sale! Prices reduced to 60%!’ Again, the banner dwarfed his storefront. His competition was posing a great risk to his business. What was the owner of the little bookstore in the middle to do?

…He created his own banner and hung it out front, simply saying ‘Main Entrance’.

One of the greatest risks in business is the threat of your competition and a changing landscape. As a business owner you need to constantly adapt to a changing business environment in order to be ahead of your competitors.

Compared to large businesses, small businesses have the ability to be far more agile and to adapt quickly. It takes far more time to turn a large ship than a yacht.

A changing environment for your business might be:

  • Increase of new technology
  • Changing legislation
  • Increase/decline in consumer spending
  • More accessible ways of researching your industry, business or competitors
  • Unexpected disaster that impacts your industry, such as swine flu affecting pork sales
  • New public focus on issues, such as the environment, natural disasters, interest rates, political issues, economy, travel warnings or disease
  • Uptake of social media

While you can insure your life or take out income protection, you cannot insure your business for the risks of a changing business landscape.

Instead, you must adapt and continue to be relevant and accessible to your ideal customers. For my business, one of the more simple ways of adapting was to be one of the first personal insurance brokers to offer a tailored and personal service over email and phone.

How has your business adapted, and what changing business environment is threatening to impact your business?

What do you think?

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Rick Mapperson

Rick Mapperson

Rick Mapperson is the founder and managing director of Rick Mapperson and Associates ( http://sydneyinsurancebroker.com.au/), a personal insurance brokerage. Rick has been insuring people, particularly small business owners, for twenty years. Rick combines his skills as a licensed Financial Planner and his understanding as the co-founder of an Australian charity focused on families, to understand the best interests of his clients. You can follow Rick on twitter @RickMapperson

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