18 Mar 2013

4 Questions to Ask Yourself to Make Sure You Are Staying Ahead of the Competition

Red Check Boxes

This last week I received an “assignment” from a customer (Company X) to qualify our business relationship. This happens each year and is not unexpected; in fact, I would call it a best practice on their part. The purpose of which is to ensure that they are being dealt with fairly, and that the relationship is valuable and should be continued.

To do this, each year they send their vendors an assignment, not unlike the annual employee evaluation that many companies put their employees through each year.

I’m not going to pretend that I liked the employee evaluations I was subjected to in past jobs. They were often time intensive, and ultimately ended in a stack of papers in the HR office to be filed away.  And they generally came with limited, if any, feedback.

However, despite that, these evaluations served a purpose in forcing me to take stock of my work, processes, accomplishments, goals, and overall effectiveness in my role. This is something that every person/company should do far more frequently than once a year.

We were asked the following questions:

  1. Describe the top three trends in the industry as you see it and how your company is leading or reacting to these trends.
  2. What product trends have you seen? What creative/unique promotional item ideas do you have for Company X?
  3. Please describe and define any additional value-added services your organization provides.
  4. Outline what your competitive edge is over the competition, and why you should remain a partner of Company X’s.

These are great questions to ask any business partner. They are not overly complicated, yet required me to put some real thought into the responses. In fact, they have also given me ideas for my next couple of posts. Check back soon.

What steps you take to evaluate your role, or company on a regular basis?