Complacency is the biggest weakness that a business faces. In highly competitive industries, when a business becomes comfortable with its position, it will inevitably start to whither. Over time, a small internal problem eventually grows into a larger problem threatening the business. Externally, competitors will take advantage of any weaknesses and steal market share. Therefore, it is important to be on guard against feeling that the business is “good enough” and requires no updating.
     How does a business owner know if they are being complacent? The first is to ask yourself if you are still asking questions about your business. Do you still strive to find out why something is done a certain way, or just accept that it works that way? Acceptance is another form of complacency. Do you find yourself asking for new ways to appeal to customers or simply accepting your current base? Innovation is the key to any business in a competitive industry, so you must always be thinking of new and different ways to be operating. This can be innovation in terms of customer appeal or in how a particular problem is addressed. If you feel that you have run out of ideas, ask someone else for their input. The complacency doesn’t start when you run out of ideas, but rather when you no longer seek the ideas.
     A peculiarity of complacency is that it is usually borne from dominance. That is, a dominant business usually becomes complacent in its priority position. At the top, a business may feel that it can do no wrong and does not need to continually improve its processes or listen to its customers. Understand, though, that the competition is there and ready to take advantage of those weaknesses as they grow. Your competition is always looking for the “loose brick” in your fortress, and will ruthlessly exploit it until your castle comes down. It is not a failure of a business to have a loose brick, but it is a failure to not correct it before a competitor can take advantage of it. Alternatively, your business should always be looking to exploit your competitor’s loose brick. That way, you can exploit their weaknesses to increase your market share. D1R Consulting stands ready to help you avoid complacency through business process management, competitor analysis and customer analysis. We stand here ready to help you avoid complacency by asking the right questions and optimizing your business.