If your business is relevant then it is competitive.  Maintaining relevance requires a consistent effort to keep your business in the minds of the people you are serving.  This includes both your current and future customers.

Losing relevance means that you are no longer aligned with your customers.  It means that you are losing touch with what’s happening in your market sector and perhaps the broader economy.  This can happen over the course of one’s career and in a moment.  Social media, in particular, has magnified the problem.

Communication is a key tool to express who you are and what you do.  When this message becomes diluted or loses focus, then people may look elsewhere for the services you provide.  How do you work with your customers one-on-one?  Are you and your employees making the most out of each interaction with your customer?

If you are using social media or advertising then what are you telling people about that value that you provide?  What stories are being told across the various social networks that let people know what you do?  If your firm’s culture is an important part of your business proposition then how is this being expressed to others?

The message can become muddy quickly.

Staying ahead of the competition is one part of running a successful business.  The other part is knowing yourself and the value provide.  Learn why people come to you to do business and then communicate that to people.

Is it convenience or friendly service?  Do you offer the latest innovations in your industry?  Are you active in the local community?  What is your business doing that your competitors are not?

The answers to these basic questions are the foundation of the stories that you tell people about what you do.

[Photo:  Yards Park in Washington, DC.  The rings on this bridge keep your view focused and define what you see.]

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