By Steve Lemon, VP of Business Development and Co-Founder at Currencycloud
In today’s business space, competition is fierce. And as a result of the rise of technology, consumer demand is constantly changing and growing, making it harder than ever for businesses to stay ahead of the curve. So, what can businesses do to remain competitive and ensure longevity in these uncertain times? Steve Lemon, VP of Business Development and Co-Founder at Currencycloud, believes that strategic partnerships are the building blocks needed to help businesses grow and thrive.
What advice would you give a business looking to remain competitive and ensure they withstand the test of time?
For a business to last, I would say there are two main principles to consider. Firstly, always listen to the customer. With the sheer amount of power in their hands, keeping them happy is a necessity.
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Secondly, a business is only as strong as its foundation. If there is a gap or weakness in your service offering, then your business will eventually crumble. Competition is also fierce so being one step ahead is important: businesses need to constantly be innovating their services to ensure that they are resilient and built to last.
But some businesses have been operating as usual for decades, why now do they need to innovate their services to retain their customers? What has changed?
We live in the age of technology, and with this comes new ways for consumers to branch out and see what else is out there. They can now compare products, services or prices quickly allowing them to easily switch if a better option is out there. Businesses have to focus on listening to what consumers want, or face losing them.
But it is a monumental task to innovate services alongside satisfying the ever-changing list of client demands and juggling on-going business needs and regulatory changes. Not to mention building the infrastructure to offer new services to customers is an expensive and time consuming project. But that doesn’t mean they have to do it alone: in today’s building block economy, a strategic partner can go a long way to help strengthen your foundation.
Can strategic partnerships help businesses remain competitive?
As the saying goes “no man is an island”, and businesses are no exception. Working with one key partner can offer a wealth of benefits to your business, not only opening up potential new leads, but also freeing up time to focus on other important business needs. Partnerships also enable the sharing of knowledge, time, funds and ideas, allowing your business to develop without limitations and ensure longevity.
But before you get started, you need to find the right partner. In order to do that you first need to be honest with yourself and understand where the weaknesses in your business lie. Finding a partner who can supply you with what you are missing such as financial support or technological advancements, is how you will get the maximum potential out of any collaboration.
What technological benefits are there to partnerships?
We live in a time where technology is king and if you do not have the funds, time or know-how to harness and develop technological advances to continually improve your business, you are going to fall behind.
Partnering with someone who specialises in technology or can offer access that you would not otherwise have is a win-win situation that can help your business thrive in a highly competitive climate. We all know that the rise of technology has created an impatient consumer who expects nothing less than a quick and seamless service. Improving your technological offering for your customers is undoubtedly going to increase customer satisfaction and loyalty to your brand.
By choosing a partner with technological know-how, your business could also expand in to new markets and potentially take one step closer to becoming a one-stop shop for all of your client needs.
Can partnerships offer any advantages when it comes to globalisation?
If your aim is to expand your business globally, but you lack the funds or knowledge about the country you wish to expand into, then yes, a partnership is a smart move from both a time and financial standpoint.
Working with a partner in another country or someone who has a firm grasp on the inner workings of the region would save you the time and hassle of researching the demographic, any regional regulations and the potential client base, allowing you to reposition that time into other aspects of the business.
But going global surely means less time to spare, so how can a partner help?
There are only so many plates a single person can spin before one gets dropped. Working with a strategic partner allows you to share the hefty workload of running a business and delegate responsibilities to a trusted party.
For example, working with a partner who has an understanding of today’s complex regulatory environment, especially relative with the upcoming GDPR and PSD2 changes, can remove the hassle of ensuring your business is compliant, resulting in more time for you to focus on your customer’s needs.
In the race to the top, businesses have to prioritise their time and often listening to the consumer voice falls to the back of the pile. Yet it is important to remember that your customers’ needs and wants are a top priority – and in order for your business to thrive and withstand the test of time, you need to keep them happy.
Collaboration, delegation and innovation are the building blocks to success and longevity – and partnerships can offer just that. So, ask yourself this; am I missing a building block? Is there anything more I can offer my customers? If yes, then choose a strategic partner to help you create a business powerhouse where the opportunities could be endless.