Coffee. Pajamas. Breakfast. Newspaper. Sounds like the makings of a perfect and very typical morning… 20+ years ago. With the digital world and new generations swiftly taking over, the newspaper (and arguably traditional TV news) industry has taken a hit.
But that doesn’t mean news is dead. In fact, it’s very much alive – it’s just being consumed in a much different manner.
Sun Community News, published by Denton Publications, Inc. is a 68-year-old community publishing company and commercial printing operation in Elizabethtown, New York. And they’re flourishing. “The problem with newspapers today is they have failed to evolve,” explained Dan Alexander, Publisher and President. “We’re constantly looking for new ways to expand, reach and serve our customer base.” That is their secret to success.
Aside from the news, other industries have faced similar momentum shifts. Trades like real estate and retail are all examples of industries that have forced business owners to go about processes differently. (Some would argue all industries have had to adapt to changing times in some way).
Think about a challenge you’ve had to overcome recently or that you’re currently dealing with. Was there new technology introduced that’s presented a bit of a learning curve? Did you lose your biggest client to a larger company? Here’s how you can overcome that adversity.
This may seem like an obvious solution, but when you really put your customers first, everything else will fall into place. If something isn’t working, don’t look for ways to cut corners and benefit your own business. Think about a solution that will truly benefit your customers and then figure out the business stuff later.
Beyond the printing aspect, The Sun is really all about helping people “[We provide] strong, all local content that affects people’s lives. We are also very active in community affairs and industry affairs,” explained Alexander.
When you’re passionate about what you do and how it affects your customers’ lives, it shows. Keeping loyal customers loyal is the first step in maintaining your business foundation and from there, you can focus on growth. Never lose sight of your overarching goal because that is what’s going to draw people in.
Refine your craft
Overcoming adversity, no matter what that may be, doesn’t mean you need to reinvent the wheel, but you do have to implement adjustments. As Alexander puts it, “Those of us who will survive in this or any industry will remain relevant by reinventing and refining our craft instead of staying the course which will lead to extinction.”
The Sun has taken this principle to heart and is using technology to bring the newspaper to life. By downloading their app called Layar, consumers are able to experience stories from Sun Community News through augmented reality. Interacting with a newspaper is a really unique concept that proves you can think out of the box with your own products and processes to come up with an idea that resonates with your ever-changing audience.
One thing to keep in mind as you’re adjusting certain aspects of your small business is to focus on the quality of what you’re doing as well. Once you’ve identified the need to refine your craft doesn’t mean you should thoughtlessly throw out some ideas and hope they resonate. Do your research and make sure you’re presenting the best possible options that benefit your customers.
Don’t be afraid to fail
“In the ‘80s and ‘90s, too many newspapers were purchased by large corporations and are now run by paid managers. Neither the corporations nor their managers have the desire to do anything more than send a return to the shareholders while being too afraid to fail and try something new,” said Alexander.
While this is specific to the newspaper industry, maybe you’re thinking the same thing about your particular small business – that you might fail if you try to do something new. This goes back to the mindset that you never know what could happen until you try. A simple mantra that speaks volumes in the business world. As mentioned above, you don’t want to try something just to try without giving some careful consideration, but the biggest point is that you need to get over your fears.
And don’t forget to remain positive through whatever you’re going through. You’ll be surprised at how much impact optimism will have on you moving forward.
To learn more about Sun Community News, click here.
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