When the market changes do what Harley Davidson is doing.

One of the greatest aspects of business is that nothing stays the same. Entrepreneurs need to stay on their toes to win market share and ultimately profits. Changes in technology, customer behaviors and cultural shifts are all opportunities in disguise but are seldom recognized. No entrepreneur is immune from competition and the best entrepreneurs seek it out and look to conquer it.

Because it takes so much effort to start and run a business, I think many entrepreneurs work hard to get to a level of stability in their business and then sit back and expect that life won’t change. I don’t think this is done intentionally but because life moves so fast it can be hard to look around and find opportunities to pursue when there is no pressure to do so. An entrepreneur should be anticipating changes in their business and working as if another business is a day away from taking their market share and customers. Healthy paranoia is better than unhealthy fear that comes from an atrophying business that failed to use the good times to develop strategies to ensure they would last. It doesn’t have to be hard to plan for the changes your business may experience. It’s certainly easier than having to change your business when you have run out of time.

Facing a tight market in the US, Harley Davidson has been working expand its brand outside of the US in hopes of finding new customers. With their sights set on India, Harley Davidson has been making investments in facilities, people and a dealer network to capitalize on one of the largest motorcycle markets in the world. Like any opportunity, there are challenges that Harley Davidson will face as existing brands won’t easily give up market share to a new entrant. Pricing is probably the biggest challenge that Harley Davidson will face as its brand commands a premium that may not translate as easily in India as it has in the US. Harley Davidson is known for its healthy margins and hopefully their experience and knowledge that has helped them generate high margins will help continue to be a market leader wherever they go.

There is never a better time than right now to begin working on a strategy that will address the market changes your business is either now or in the future. If you need somewhere to start, consider the following questions:

  1. What changes in technology could your business face?
  2. How could (are) your customer’s behaviors change?
  3. What trends are occurring in the market that your business could benefit from?

By working through the answers to these questions on a regular basis, you may be surprised to see what opportunities you uncover for your business and your bottom line.

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