Business Today: The Need for Speed

Business Today: The Need for Speed

Comet Comments: Steven's Blog

We all know that the business environment is changing ever so rapidly, and much of that is due to the change in the speed of business. Those of us who benefit the most from these changes, are the ones who can identify these changes early on and integrate them successfully into their business operations. There is a plethora of sources from which we can obtain information, and thanks mostly to the explosion of the Internet, perhaps more resources than we can manage effectively. (Information overload is a whole different subject, so I'll save that for a later date.) As business owners, we are charged with the responsibility of having a vision by which we can accurately measure whether the assumptions and decisions we made together with our staff are correct. In this respect, our staff is truly a vital source of field information because they are dealing with the business at hand, and interacting with our customers on a minute by minute basis. Here's an example I love to use about how our expectations have changed in the last 20 years. In the old days (yes, I know I'm dating myself) when you took your shoes to the shoemaker for heel repair and a shine, you expected to get them back in a few days, and that was perfectly fine. But today's expectations are quite different, aren't they? Today we demand them back within the hour, or if it's a more complicated repair, within 24 hours at the most. Even global deliveries have high expectations these days. Whereas it once took weeks or months to send packages or freight to the other side of the world, now it can get there in as little as 24 hours. With new technology constantly developing to streamline the process of inventory, shipping and customs requirements, sending or receiving goods overseas or between the Americas is no longer the daunting task it once was, but is now standard business practice for many companies. Just as transportation has adapted to consumer and business demands, business strategy must also be adaptable, and because of this there sometimes isn't time for a boardroom discussion. When great opportunities are presented to us, can we rise to the occasion and perform the services required and make a profit? Sometimes these opportunities, great as they are, are also uncomfortable. They feel risky. They take us out of our comfort zone and force us to change. Perhaps it means establishing a new division in our own company. And as business leaders, it's our job to know when taking such an opportunity is strong leadership, as opposed to being foolish. Making the most of opportunities is what distinguishes great leaders from good ones. Sometimes those opportunities come in the form of changes in the business environment, and the business owners who see those trends developing and successfully implement them early on, are often remembered as the pioneers we emulate and hope to be someday.

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