Room to Grow
Does this sound familiar? Your markets are growing slowly or not at all. You lack cash to buy another company, and international markets look worse than the domestic ones. If that's you, pick up a copy of How to Grow When Markets Don't (Warner). Management consultants Adrian Slywotzky and Richard Wise, along with co-author Karl Weber, present "demand innovation," a strategy for use in slow- or no-growth markets and economies.
Demand innovation advises companies to creatively identify unmet customer needs so they can increase sales without the risk of entering new markets or attracting new customers. That's not easy, the authors say. Inflexible corporate culture, lack of time and customer reluctance are common obstacles. But using examples from industries such as autos and insurance, they show it can be done.
Numerous checklists, templates, suggestions and anecdotes help you put the ideas to work. A concluding section on getting started offers seven things you can do today. First, for instance, you should resegment your customer base, separating what seems like a group of similar buyers to find subcategories of clients with special needs you can address. Next, adopt a strategic customer program, seeking new contacts and deeper relationships with existing key accounts with the goal of better understanding their needs and how to serve them.
Wages, salaries and benefits are just starting points for entrepreneurs who want to keep and motivate employees, consultant Jon R. Katzenbach contends in Why Pride Matters More Than Money (Crown Business). Rather than hiking pay, you can motivate people better by encouraging pride in the work and a sense of accomplishment, camaraderie and emotional attachment, Katzenbach says, citing examples from the Marines to Microsoft. Recommendations include involving employees in selecting the performance indicators that will be measured, how they will be measured and how achievements will be recognized.
Mark Henricks is Entrepreneur's "Smart Moves" columnist.