Businesses from micro right through to large enterprises are constantly faced with new challenges (and opportunities) to remain relevant. But, as a business owner, that might leave you feeling like you’re sometimes forced to make reactionary changes to suit the demands of the ever-evolving marketplace.
Twenty years ago business technology centred on floppy disks, fax machines and Windows 95. Now, there’s an abundance of tech gadgets including smart phones, cloud technology, tablets and social networks. The business world has changed significantly in the last 20 years or so and it will continue to change at an increasingly rapid pace, so now is the perfect time to ensure your business is ready for the journey ahead.
Business owners and entrepreneurs need to take advantage of innovations in technology or run the risk of being left behind. What to do?
Don’t fight it – go with it.
- The only thing constant in business is change, so you might want to stay “in the know”. Try scanning your environment for trends and educate yourself and your employees on any factors that could potentially impact your business. Changes can stem from factors such as the economy, politics, and society, changing cultural trends, technological advancements or variations to the environment (Business Strategy 101)
- Keeping track of potential threats and opportunities in these areas can help keep your business ahead of the game.
- Your Internal Environment – your costs, organisational structure, operations manual and your plans for the future.
Whilst scanning your environment, it’s also important to remain vigilant of your competitors. Keeping up with the competition is all about innovation, not price. Why is it so? Because quality and the buyer’s ability to use what you are selling is a better gauge of value and therefore success for the buyer than price although it’s still relevant.
So, how do you compete on innovation? It’s about keeping your customer’s needs in the forefront of your business – your goal is their satisfaction. Listening to your customers is a great way to gain insight and build new ideas although sorting out the fluff from the valuable information is not easy.
Partnering with other businesses even in short term / Joint Ventures.
Teaming up with other businesses and expanding ideas beyond your four walls is becoming more common=.
Affiliating with other businesses maximise your business offering? Most business have affiliates. Joint Ventures are good for short term projects where two business partner to meet specific goals, split costs and profits then disband.
Writers worth reading on the topic of sustainable businesses practices know or have heard of Simon Sinek. People don’t buy from you because of what you sell they buy from you because of why you sell it.
Vision has been replaced by ‘your why’ in the Business Plan. Limiting Risk has replaced the 5 year plan. You do what you do because you believe in it and are willing to go to almost any lengths to make it work. Innovation is like evolution in 2015. Its inevitable so you better have a hand in it or an interest in it or you won’t move forward. Customers are fickle so it’s vital to position yourself in the market to attract the type of customers who will appreciate you.
Talking to customers isn’t enough I’m afraid because it’s like looking backwards to see what’s already happened. You need to be marketing and finding your niche.
Above all, having a team that can work together productively and effectively is one of the best ways to build a working environment; outsourcing is the new way of employing. The world is moving faster than the people in our community where that’s concerned but the best way to build a team is to pick people you can work with who supply you with that bit extra, who are competent and have a ‘why’ of their own.