When I started my business and established the company in 2011, I didn’t imagine the journey would be like this. Just like climbing a mountain, if you look from below, you might think, “When will we arrive? It’s so tiring…”
But if you actually do it, it feels just normal. It was tiring but worth it for the experience and atmosphere. Along the way, we can enjoy the beauty; there are ups and downs, tiredness, and a lot of happiness.
But you might think about what comes next when the business has been running for a while. Do we want to stay static, or do we want to grow and develop ourselves?
At Excellent, we sometimes talk about sunset products. Sunset business. A business in its sunset, a product in its twilight. People still use it now, but in a few years, they might not anymore. These means don’t get complacent. If you’re not careful, your business might be running now but might not be able to survive in the future.
My team and I don’t want that. We are indeed a small company with limited resources. But small in size doesn’t stop us from thinking and having aspirations. When we can still make do with what we have now, it’s best to prepare the foundation for future growth and survival.
At my small company, Excellent, there are several things to consider if we want to survive in business. These include:
We must have a product. If we are only a broker selling other people’s products or services, sooner or later, we will run out. We might be crushed if a new competitor appears with a lower price and substantial capital.
If we are a reseller or partner or whatever it is, we must complement it with an advantage value or added value. If everyone can become a VMware or Microsoft partner, what is the advantage value that makes us chosen over other competitors?
We could have a certified engineer, but other competitors also have one. We may have experience, but other competitors also have it. We may be technically proficient, but other competitors are too. Intelligent people can be created every day. They can go to a course, and they can learn.
We, who are considered experts in the past, may still need to be better than other competitors.
It can be an added value if we have a product, whether it is our product or an addon or compliment. The product makes our value more valuable compared to others.
If we sell bananas by opening a kiosk in Jakarta, we can’t sell bananas to Papua. We can, but the probability is small. Those who are likely to buy are usually around the housing complex.
I can only serve a limited scope if I sell refilled water, gallon water, or gas. If I have to deliver a gallon of gas to another outlying area, it may be more expensive than the price and profit unless in a large bulk/batch.
This weakness means businesses like opening a banana kiosk or refilling water or gas can support us, but it is challenging to develop on a large scale. I take this example because I did it. I’m not saying business is less suitable because many people become wealthy and sufficient from this business.
If I sell bananas and then develop them into an online store, I can reach areas around Bekasi to Jakarta. The coverage is broader, and there are more opportunities, but the scope still needs to be expanded.
If we do IT business, creating tailor-made applications sold to other companies, we can survive, but achieving a large business scale isn’t easy. For example, I make a General Ledger or financial application and then sell it to Company A, and I can get money from there. I changed it a little and sold it to Company B, Company C, etc.
I can get 10 or 20 customers, but I need to work hard to get 100 or 1000 customers. I can’t extend this to other industries because the system and business processes differ. I can’t expand to other countries because the language and culture differ.
So, if we want to survive, we must consider the scale. Is our product scalable? Can we expand it to other regions or industries or not? If not, how can we add value to our product so that additional products or services do not easily replace it?
If I develop it into a cloud service, for example, a SaaS application, I can focus on product development. I can take the application I made and migrate it into a cloud application. I will fund it from the income I have been earning so far, from the savings I have gained while implementing it to clients.
I have an excellent foundation to start if I already have a cloud-based product, especially if the application is widely used. At first, I might only have one or two clients. Then gradually it will increase. I can complete the features. Improve the quality. Increase system stability based on feedback from clients.
This time, the scaling or development process can be more easily planned. I can still run with one server if I have five new clients. But when the number of clients increases, I can add more servers. Every time I add a certain number of clients, I can add customer care staff. The billing mechanism can be automated. In this way, the business can grow with better preparation.
The process is certainly challenging. But if we stay still without innovation, it’s not easy either. Consider it a mountain climbing journey, and we can enjoy the process.
Innovation is key to the survival of any business. It allows us to stay ahead of the competition and adapt to changing market conditions. There are many ways we can innovate, but one of the most important is by changing how we sell, deliver, serve, and communicate.
One example of this is in the software industry. Previously, software was sold on physical media such as CDs and DVDs. However, with the rise of the internet, it has become much more convenient for users to purchase software online. This has led to the emergence of cloud-based software as a service (SaaS) and subscription models, which offer users the ability to access software on demand without the need for physical media.
Similarly, if we sell a service, it is important that we use technology to deliver it efficiently. For example, instead of relying on face-to-face meetings, we can use video conferencing to communicate with our clients and provide our services remotely. This saves time and money and allows us to reach a wider audience and serve them more effectively.
In conclusion, innovation is crucial for the survival of any business. By changing how we sell, deliver, serve, and communicate, we can stay ahead of the competition and adapt to changing market conditions. It is essential to constantly assess our business and identify areas where we can innovate to remain relevant and thrive in the long run.