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.
My thinking is a mess of do this / go to that / get this done / then get distracted and work on that. Don’t get me wrong, stuff gets done and my soft files are organised but my brain feels like its buzzing sometimes. I’m glad it does it feels like my creative juices are flowing but it can be distracting. It’s like a lion I have to put in a cage when I have to do technical work for clients or a specific job.
A way of shutting down the buzz is to commit to focus.
It’s not new (it’s a shit of a word to spell!). It is of course, isolating your thoughts so that you focus. We cannot do serious work if we can’t block out our unfocused thoughts. But the conundrum is that we have to have time to allow for no- focused thoughts to allow us to spread out and dominate our time if we are to learn and explore and dream.
I saw a Detective on a Game Show this week. He didn’t bring any part of his work to the game show. He has mastered compartmentalisation. He was a normal guy from the street, on the show. Is this good? Not for an entrepreneur it isn’t. Nor is it for a start-up.
What is a Start Up
You might acquire a business by buying it, or start it from scratch. If you start it from scratch, you have a start-up. As a start-up, 5 years in now, I have some insights now that I didn’t have 5 years ago. I really felt like I was walking on a tightrope above the city most days.
Last year a lawyer was going to sue me which worried me greatly and dominated my thoughts until it was pointed out to me that I was insured and I should stop worrying – that I should compartmentalise it.
Taking the lid off a brain, if we could compare those whose worry, with those who compartmentalise, we’d see, I believe, a lot of ‘bleed’ between compartments of those who live with worry and in the inability to separate non related issues.
Worrying is detrimental to your health. You can’t fix what you can’t control but worrying about it doesn’t help anything or anyone. So why do we worry?
Its a Bad Habit
Worry is made up of nagging, persistent thoughts that circle around in your head. It is “what if” statements, worst-case scenarios, and awful predictions. The act of worrying is an obsessive, habitual behaviour-and one that you can give up. But before you can give it up, you must accept that the act of worrying serves no purpose. Worrying is stealing your energy, fatiguing your muscles and body, exacerbating your aches and pains, increasing your vulnerability to stress and infection, distracting you from the present, interfering with your sleep, inappropriately increasing or decreasing your appetite, and keeping you from more pleasurable or important tasks. It is time to recognize the act of worry serves no purpose and has become a bad habit says Marci G. Fox Ph.D
Replacing worry with a personal alarm system to ‘assess risk’ is what most people do. I think those who persist with practising worrying, find some joy or happiness in it, as amazing as that sounds. It’s a habit and like any other bad habit you can quit it. Take it from an ex-worrier.
Your life requires no improvement, embrace change and admit you don’t know why you need perfection. Understand what work is about. Paid Work not unpaid work.
You just stubbed your toe perfectly. Your boss just yelled at you beautifully. Embrace, love, and flow with the perfection your life continually offers. Your home is untidy perfectly.
Celebrate everything that is. You are surrounded by the perfect present.
2nd:Seek Your Own Approval
Good deeds can be their own reward, but I enjoy ringing a friend who reveals her back is playing up and telling her she is to go to bed and ring her doctor for a home visit.
You have your own values what do they align with? The acid test is are they more aligned with the scoundrel or the angel? Because everyone is doing it is not a good enough reason to do it. Reason with yourself as to why you are doing what you do.
Take care of yourself and do what’s important to you. You will naturally take care of others this way. Be a model for a happy life. Giving up bad habits and doing things that don’t harm you are not impossible in fact they are pretty easy.
Do the most wonderful, charitable things in the world. Do them for yourself. Do them because they make you happy. I rang my pregnant friend this morning because I had a great joke to tell her, I had to share it. She told me by text the other day that the cats couldn’t fit on her lap because the baby is still growing (2 weeks to go). I imagined the baby sticking yellow stickies on his computer and making hurried phone calls because the time is getting near. That is still hilarious to me. Still laughing, I had to share it. I made it up. I had to ring her and share it.
This can be particularly challenging if you have kids, a spouse, friends, or a mother.
When you do everything for you, you are really taking care of everyone.
Impress yourself. You are your own toughest audience. You have the lead role in your life. Play it up!
There is nothing that you need to do and nothing you “should” do. However, there are plenty of things you act as if you “should” do.
Being forced, even by yourself to do anything turns what might be fun into a chore, you are responsible for that. Own it, Change it, Who is in charge of you?
Scared or worried? Take a breath. You can turn fear into excitement by deep breathing, Bloody Hell, this is actually true.
Do what you do. Don’t do what you don’t do. But always celebrate what you do no matter what it is.
Test your presence by doing stuff. Do other stuff too, explore.