Adapting to the times

Daniel Touizer doesn’t claim to possess psychic powers. If he did, his job as chairman and CEO of Cinergy Health Inc. would be a lot easier — especially when health care reform could potentially alter the health insurance agency’s future.

He has to rely, instead, on other methods to stay aware of what’s coming down the pike and how it might affect his $85 million company.

“I’ve learned that it is extremely important to stay ahead of the curve with what you can control,” says Touizer, who leads 225 employees. “Stay on top of your industry, take care of your employees and your customers and always keep your eyes open for new opportunities. This is what will set your brand apart from your competitors no matter what is happening in your industry or the economy.”

Through direct customer interaction, focus groups that explore the competition and other feelers throughout the industry, Touizer stays on top of changes while building a more flexible company.

Smart Business spoke to Touizer about adapting your company to changing times.

Stay up to date. Things can change that are beyond your control. You could … have to adapt to running a business during a recession, new technology could be introduced into your industry or new government regulations could be put into place. 

The best way to overcome this challenge is to always be up to date and prepared. Conducting research about your industry, your competitors and your customer base will allow you to adapt to change within your industry more quickly and effectively. That research will not only prepare you for working in a changing industry, it will also help you stay competitive and attract new customers.

I read pretty much everything: major newspapers, trade publications, news channels. Go to conferences in the industry to learn about the trends, opportunities.

A good leader can actually select certain things — publications, newspapers or the such — that he believes are good materials to read and to stay on top of on a weekly, a monthly basis, and make sure that anyone he feels it’s necessary for receives a copy every month. Everybody needs to read it and bring it up in some meetings so people can share ideas.

Social media has helped us. A lot of the competitors have social media pages with Facebook and Twitter. We get a lot of feedback from what their customers want, what they’re happy about, what they look for. And we have our own social media where we get feedback from our own clients. That’s where people are very open and they really share their experiences, so you can get a lot of good feedback.