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Leadership: Environmental Scanning

 Be Proactive, Find Business Oppurtunities

iStock_000004115582XSmallI’ve always wondered why anyone would want to “keep their nose to the grindstone.” Taken either literally or figuratively, it’s a dangerous thing to do.

While the literal danger is easy enough to figure out, the figurative may need some explaining.

In times of challenges, companies are often guided to go back to the basics; “keep their heads down” and focus on the here and now. While doing the one thing you do best, and doing it better than anyone else, seems to make sense, it’s also a great way to miss out on both opportunities and new competitors.

That’s because the phrase “turbulent times” doesn’t translate into “everything is standing still.” Your savvy competitors are probably very busy. They’re looking for opportunities being driven by the changes happening in the marketplace. They’re looking for ways to innovate, leap frog, if not eliminate, the industry leaders, and perhaps even change the industry all together.

One great example of not standing still is Ray Anderson, the founder and former CEO of Interface Carpets. Preparing for a motivational speech on the company’s approach to the environment, Ray realized the most he could say for what his carpet company was doing was “following the law.”

Instead of accepting that as acceptable, he started to look for different ways of doing things. What he found was his own passion to change how things were done, a passion that ultimately led to becoming a pioneer in the industry. A pioneer that created the industry of the green office, streamlined its costs, increased customer loyalty, and jump-started employee morale.

Well ahead of regulations and his competitors, Ray implemented strategies for waste reduction, recycling, and energy efficiency. And in the process his sales went up 49 percent and he created a new benchmark for his competitors.

I recommend companies continually scan their environment for opportunities. Turbulent times bring unique challenges that can become industry-changing innovations if you remember to keep your head up and constantly look and think about what is not only in front of you, but also on either side and coming up behind! After all, keeping your nose to the grindstone, simply results in a disfigured nose…

Elaine Eisenman, Guest Blogger 
View more posts by SCORE’s Guest Bloggers


Marketing: The Importance of Your Business Card

Finding the Right Image

Look at other business cards and identify your likes and dislikes, your business card reflects who you are, it captures the essence of your business image.

Consider an eye catching logo, graphic or picture if appropriate.
A business card should:

  • Have your business name that is clear and easy to read Have a tag line to convey the benefits at a quick glance
  • Must be printed on heavy card stock
  • Can be printed on both sides for additional information/appointments
  • Always include your name and title, address, phone number, fax number, email address and website.

Carry at least 20 cards at all times and hand to everyone you meet

Please share ideas that you have used on your business cards that have been effective in your business.

Julie Brander - Business Mentor, SCORE New Haven
Julie has been a SCORE volunteer since 1997. She has 20 years of experience in business, starting a manufacturing, wholesale and retail jewelry company. After selling her business, she dedicated herself to helping other entrepreneurs start and expand their business. | @juliebrander | More from Julie