An interesting observation… the terminology and structuring of how we view ecosystems is the same as how we view economics? Environments and money markets. Could two things be more different? And yet, we view them both in terms of resources, demand and supply, and predator and prey.
In a stable and balanced ecosystem, every creature has a place, a role they fit into. While I hate to compare consumers to prey, the concept in business is not so dissimilar. In any particular market, each business is competing for the same resources, and each business must be uniquely suited to the consumers (i.e. prey) it wants to target in order to be successful. This could mean a strong focus on an online presence and online purchasing tools for one business, while another might be better off with a stronger physical presence and in-store purchasing options.
Fortunately, businesses are not subject to the rules of evolution—which are actually kind of morbid. Instead, business owners have the power to make decisions about how they want to make their businesses more unique and more competitive within the industry.
What some business owners might not realize is that their choice of credit card processing services and payment technology might play a big role in how to attract and keep customers. Sometimes, it’s not about the big things, like branding campaigns or website graphics. Sometimes, the smaller things can be more vital, like providing your customers with dependable online purchasing tools. I know more than one customer who has given up on a business when they couldn’t make an online purchase or the system kept booting them out.
If you’re looking to make your business more successful, to find your niche, consider the following steps for evaluating your credit card processing services and payment tools. There might be some technology options you haven’t considered that will help your business find its place for market success.
Evaluate. The first step in improving your business is understanding it. Consider the following questions:
- Who are your customers? What are their age ranges, general interests, areas of residence, and average incomes?
- What attracts them to your business? Why are they choosing you over your competitors?
- How do they make purchases (online, in-store, mobile)?
Once you know the answers to these questions, you can start to evaluate where your business is successful and where you might be lacking. From there, you can choose to focus on strengthening your already strong areas and allocate resources to reinforcing your strengths, or you can begin to repair your weak areas. It is important to evaluate in this way and create priorities for your business to progress and improve. Your fund and time resources are not infinite and must be used wisely to maximize your potential.
Consider your options. After you’ve assessed your strength/weaknesses and your priorities, you can begin to explore your options. Credit card processing service options are abundant with today’s technology, and various simple forms of payment technology are easy to find. Even more, there are tools available to help you create customer loyalty programs, manage inventory, and simplify debt or collections processing. Visit the NTC Texas Customized Payment Solutions page to receive a personalized assessment of your business’s options for improving payment technology, or visit our products and solutions page for more options. Beyond that, do your own research and be open-minded to new and creative solutions. You might be pleasantly surprised at the variety of tools available for businesses today.
Make it happen. Finally, you need to get a real plan of action in place. Don’t try to do too much at once and make sure that you’re prepared to evaluate the success of your plan at each step along the way. Finding your niche is not easy. For plants and animals, it takes lots of death and thousands of years of small mutations. Obviously, you don’t have that kind of time or patience. Instead, use the technological tools at your disposal to monitor changes and tweak your plans along the way.
If your business hasn’t settled into its perfect niche within the market yet, be patient and observe your market and competitors. The most important rule you can adopt for surviving any environment, ecosystem or business market, is being open to changing and being wise enough to adapt to your surroundings as needed. After all, survival of the fittest was never about strength or brute force—the extinction of the dinosaurs proves that. Survival of the fittest is about flexibility and adaptation to one’s surroundings. So evaluate, adapt, survive, and then thrive.
About the Author – Ashley Choate is a native of Jacksonville, FL where she lives with her son, dog, and three cats. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Jacksonville University with a BA in English and holds an MAED in Adult Education and Training. She lives for reading and writing, learning and teaching, and figuring out the day-to-day traumas and joys of mommyhood. .