All Posts Tagged: Airbnb

It’s not too late to hone your goals for 2015

Don Mercer
Posted by Don Mercer
Small Business Banking

The start of a new year is the time to put on your visionary cap. We all focus on operations most of the year; so the first quarter, when business may be slower, is the time to pause and think big. What are your goals for the year: Grow sales? Increase efficiency? Introduce new products?

African American man giving a high five to a team member in a meeting, viewed from behind glass.This is the time to be creative. Just look at the recent issue of Time magazine where they take readers on a wild ride through the sharing economy to help get them inspired about what’s possible.

Are you inspired to innovate?

We see it all around, right? Uber now claims its San Francisco business is three times larger than the city’s entire taxi business, Airbnb is valued at $13 billion, and peer-to-peer lender Lending Club went public last year at a $9 billion valuation. All of these companies are shaking up industries, disrupting the old ways of doing business.

Are you the next company to become a disrupter? We can’t all be Googles and Facebooks, but we can think strategically about innovative ways of doing business to spur growth and efficiency, and better meet the needs of our customers.

I know a mattress manufacturer that has a handful of stores. Their stores do well, but where do you think their strongest growth is coming from? Amazon. In the past three years, the business has gained national distribution through online sales and is now expanding its manufacturing capacity.

Now that’s a company that took the time to think creatively about new ways to meet the needs of consumers.

Have you bought a car lately? I used an online service to buy our family’s most recent new car. I told them the car I wanted, paid $500, and two weeks later they had my new car for me at a price $3500 below MSR. How disruptive is that for the dealership industry? It could be a game changer.

Ask the big questions now

Every business could evaluate its growth strategy and whether or not you can boost profitability by increasing sales or improving operational efficiency. This goes back to spending time on your growth strategy, which I’ve written about in one of my earlier posts. To be innovative, you don’t need to invent a new app. But it helps to be aware of what new technology and new processes are available, and think through how and whether it makes sense to apply them to your business.

So, step back and think big before the year takes off and you throw yourself into operations. Ask yourself, how are you going to change your industry? What does your clients’ customer experience look like? Can you change or improve how your product/service is delivered, streamline your manufacturing process or introduce a new product?

You’ll never know unless you ask the questions. What’s your company’s vision for the future?

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Is it time for a second American Dream?

Karen Mayfield
Mortgage Banking
Blue two-story beach house.

As the economy improves, many homeowners are beginning to think about achieving a second American Dream – owning a second home.

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