2017 continues to usher in big changes for how to grow and maintain a successful business. The old ways of providing a great product into a receptive market still applies but the complications of getting this done have increased exponentially. Your competition used to be the business down the street and you could easily see what they were offering, where they sought to grow and what their specific market approach was as they were doing it. As a result you could plan your counter strategies and build barriers against them to keep your customers safely away from them.

Today however, your competition is worldwide and you may never get to see them much less hear them coming before they are directly in your industry and presenting a legitimate threat to your business. Additionally because so many business are now part of multinationals, when they come they may be much better capitalized than you and possessing an ability to lose money on the products you sell in order to achieve some larger corporate goal

Surviving and even thriving in this environment is possible for the small business but it takes smarts, quick moves and a team that is right being you and executing at the highest levels. With these assets, you can be sure to be a market leader and the envy of your industry. Here are some specifics for you to focus on that are within your power and control.

Hire a Board of Advisors Now

If you really believe that you will be able to see everything happening and coming in your marketplace, and then respond to it appropriately, you are sadly mistaken. Get clear about your specific strengths and then engage a board of advisors in every key area of your business and lean on them for advice. Every successful business leader you admire does this and knows the benefits of doing it. You will have a team of proven experts who will guide you toward success and away from pitfalls that are common among small business owners.

Your advisory board will provide you with options to some of the problems associated you’re your business growth. Board members should be at least as smart as you, and have more experience. Do not consume their time with mundane business issues, instead use them for the specifics regarding the big picture and strategy. Their focus should be on providing strategic advice, and connecting you with potential clients and resources that will likely lead to your greater success.

You should pay them what you can afford for their time but let them know you will need much more than you can pay for and you expect them to work with you until you can amply compensate them. Your plan here is to discover who is doing it for the money and who wants to legitimately see you succeed. You need those who will go the extra mile for you in order to win.

Personally take Over the Sales Department

There is no more critical department and people in your company that sales. They need to be perfectly aligned with your goal and you need to take a personal hand in making sure that this is the case. By the time you notice a problem it will be way too late, so you need to jump in personally now. If you have a great sale manager, tell him your plan and why you are doing it. Let him know that your idea is not to take over from him but to assist and offer support that perhaps the business owner can provide. Single out someone who is doing exceptionally well and talk about specifics with the team. As an example, use a sales expectations example for them to understand clearly and tell them how to get there incentivizing them the entire way.

Be prepared to take your sales manager’s lead and to back off if he has concerns about your actions, but push when needed. This should be a short term intervention and you should make that clear. Also look to learn from them about things you may not have known about selling your product to customers. Listen more than you talk. At the end of your time there the sales team should feel that they understand the company and you better and want to work harder for both.