Courage. Look at most of the world’s successful business leaders and courage is a fitting word to describe their approach to business.
From Sir Richard Branson, to Warren Buffett, Elon Musk and Anita Roddick, entrepreneurs take calculated risks to achieve results.
They’re dreamers and hustlers who prove that business as usual just won’t do.
In a global marketplace, it’s clear a ‘business as usual’ approach gets you nowhere. Today, business means being brave, challenging your thinking, consistently questioning whether you’re giving the market what it wants, and seeing risks as opportunities.
Here, I’ve outlined five simple tactics for combatting business as usual. So be brave and buckle up, because the life of an entrepreneur is one hell of a ride!
1. Continuous improvement
Undoubtedly a buzz term, when continuous improvement is done right, it’s a sure-fire antidote to business as usual. In a nutshell, continuous improvement is ongoing effort to improve all aspects of your business, from its productivity to its processes and people. Self-reflection is an important part of this. Seek input from your team, and think about what you’ve delivered to the market in the past 12 months, and how.
Why? Remaining relevant, responding to customers’ needs and leveraging new opportunities ensures you’ll continue to provide what your customers want.
2. Dispose of waste
Yes, minimising waste is key to business success, but I’m also referring to missed opportunities, under or over-servicing, duplication of services, errors in service transactions, and delays when working with external providers. One of the greatest sources of waste? How people use their time, and wasting energy pursuing “opportunities” that don’t eventuate. All of these scenarios impact your business’ efficiency. Consider the greatest area of waste in your business and its impact on your customer’s experience. Start small – address how you can minimise waste in this area of your business, and build from there.
Why? Waste not only impacts your business’ bottom line, but can also be a source of frustration to your team. Turn this around and show you care to your employees and your customers.
3. Innovate or perish
Innovation is defined as “the implementation of a new or significantly improved product (good or service), process, new marketing method or a new organisational method in business practices, workplace organisation or external relations”. Innovation means doing something significantly different, which could take the form of a small or large change. Kiikstart recently worked with a national financial services firm to re-invent how they presented figures to clients so this information was more creative, interactive and led to more regular contact and increased revenue. The purpose behind this new visitor servicing model was to meet the challenges and opportunities of the ”new world”, where the next generation of leaders and business decision makers wanted a more exciting approach to facts and figures. Not only is the new model more visually stimulating, but it also creates opportunities to take financial figures and build real business capability that improves all aspects of business – not just the bottom line. It is user-friendly and creative, but most importantly, simplified and practical.
Why? Businesses that fail to innovate perish. Luxury handbag retailer Oroton went into voluntary administration late last year. The brands failure to innovate is one of the major reasons for falling sales. The brand failed to respond to the rise of “accessible luxury” brands, such as The Daily Edited and Mimco. The brand was sitting in no man’s land in terms of brand and offering, lacking the edginess to attract a younger market – and with nothing to drive back the customers who were already familiar with the brand.
4. Broaden your definition of innovation
Yes, innovation might look like sending a Tesla Roadster into space if you’re Elon Musk, but we should extend beyond technological innovation. It might relate to your style of communication and the way your messaging evolves over time. It could be about giving customers greater choice in how your product or service can be accessed. It might relate to price points, your hours of operating and how the product or service is packaged. Or it could relate to a partnership or a product offering or event that your customers would value as a special value add. Some brands, for example, offer cinema screenings of films they think their VIP customers will like as a ‘thank you’ for their loyalty.’
Why? While technological innovation is important, creating added value for customers and meeting their evolving needs over time takes a much broader approach. Brands that also innovate in other ways will reap the rewards.
5. Measuring performance
Finally, if the thought of business as usual is weighing you down, having the appropriate measures in place so you can identify the areas where your business is excelling – and the areas where you could do more – is key. All businesses have certain measures that are essential to their success. Focus on what is important to your business, and ensure these measures extend beyond financial measures. Carefully select your KPIs to ensure your business’ long-term success.
Why? As the saying goes, “what gets measured gets managed”. Setting KPIs will not only encourage your team to continuously improve, but also put in place useful measures for assessing your success and failings.
Need support combatting ‘business as usual’? Contact 0428 593 400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.