By Juanita Vorster
Until someone creates a way to accurately predict the future, there is no way to prepare your business for every change that will come its way. Whether it is a pandemic that changes the economic outlook, societal trends that change consumption patterns, or machinery or infrastructure that breaks down, change is truly inevitable.
The key to thriving within and beyond disruption is not resistance, it is robustness.
To move beyond a fixation on how disrupting disruption is, everyone running – or involved in running – a business of any size in any sector must be skilled in building robustness into the business so that it can adapt quickly and smoothly to the prevailing conditions of the day. A truly robust business doesn’t just survive the punches dealt by exponential change; it is set up to keep on winning in a new game of business.
Win by being exceptional
It is simply not good enough to be good enough anymore. What was successful fifty years ago might not be enough to even stay afloat now. These days, a business has to be better than market average in everything it does and everywhere its clients connect with it.
Products and services that exceed client expectations, and a buying process that is frictionless, combined with a unique and memorable customer experience is not aspirational anymore; it is now a necessity. And so is using technology to consistently achieve that standard.
The need to constantly assimilate, adapt, and adopt innovative technology and processes across all departments in a business is greater than ever before. Irrespective of the size or available resources of a business, as many people as possible should constantly be on the hunt for different ways to do things towards achieving better results.
Yes, as many as possible people across the entire operation. If this thought scares you, maybe you should consider whether you have nines and tens – the best of the best – in your teams. Employees who score nine and ten out of ten aren’t always the most experienced or the most expensive; they are simply those best suited to the unique requirements of your business. Employing the best of the best is crucial if you want everything your business does to be exceptional.
Win by being a great place to work and play
For business owners or leaders who do not employ only nines and tens, the thought of giving employees what they want can be frightening. But even average employees could be more willing to give their best all the time if they:
- Know what the impact of their work on the business is
- Know exactly what it is that they’re supposed to be doing, and how it fits into the bigger picture of the business
- Don’t have to comply with rules that are left over from a previous era
- Can trust that discipline will be applied fairly
- Receive praise on a regular basis
- Are provided with bad news about the business not as a scare tactic but because they are trusted to help turn things around
- Are given an appropriate amount of autonomy
- Receive both financial and non-financial reward
- Are impressed by you
- Feel the business is set up to win
Get the right people into your business, and then do everything you can to make them want to stay there.
Win by always prospecting for new clients
Irrespective of how long your business has been around or how much market share it currently enjoys, it’s dangerous to rely solely on existing customers! The rule for whoever is responsible for selling – yes, even if it is the business owner – is that they should spend at least 20% of their time prospecting for NEW clients. And that should never ever stop.
A robust business has a robust pipeline of opportunities and orders to fill. Never let your salespeople – or yourself – tell you that there aren’t any more clients available to sell to. If you’ve knocked on the door of every single potential client in one market, then start selling to the next market! The golden rule of sales is to sell to people who have money, and to remember that money has a tendency to move.
Be bold and explore new locations to target or new clients needs to fulfil.
Win by having everyone focused on the bottom line
Too many business owners or leaders see the growth of the business as their sole responsibility. However, while they will be held accountable for it, they have every right to share the responsibility throughout the business.
Everyone in the business – yes, everyone – can set a growth target to achieve. From reduction in expenses to increase in number of prospects to better customer service; it’s all possible! Set targets, enable your people to achieve those targets, and you might be pleasantly surprised by what they – and the business – achieve!
These are the most exciting times in which to run a business. There are endless opportunities to overcome challenges, but only if you decide to lead your business with belief, passion and courage.
Juanita Vorster is a South African female entrepreneur, business advisor, and co-author of two acclaimed business books: Staying in the Helicopter® – the key to sustained profitable growth and WIN! How to succeed in the new game of business. As an “old millennial” she has experienced the world of work how it used to be, as well as where it has already shifted to. Her content is practical and useful without all the complicated jargon that usually accompanies business talks.
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