Businesses traditionally set annual goals, work toward their accomplishment, and then start the process all over again at the end of the year.
The problem with this process is the tendency to stay on the same path until forced to respond to a major obstacle. A better approach, one that even larger organizations are now taking, is to act in more entrepreneurial ways by nimbly pivoting to take a new direction that keeps the business ahead of the competition.
This can be done at any time, but rather than waiting until the year comes to a close, use this mid-year point to aggressively examine your business strategy as it relates to market conditions that most likely have changed significantly over the last six months.
Get In and Out Early
Most people hang on to things long after their usefulness has passed. Businesses are guilty of this too. They continue to invest in tired equipment, substandard employees, and problematic customers until the pain of doing so finally reaches its limit.
Develop the habit of proactively letting go of what is not fully serving the current and future needs of the organization. Professional sports teams do this very well. They trade players while they still have value for teams for which their capabilities are better suited.
The key to making better decisions with respect to asset allocation is understanding both the current and future strategy of the company. This led Google to announce the future discontinuance of a number of Google products, including iGoogle, which happens to be one that is essential to my daily work routine.
Google is an organization that is quick to launch new products, and just as quick to drop some that may still be working well.
Google is clearly looking into the future and reconciling that with their current product offerings to get out of what has limited future value. Your business should be doing the same.
The only way to develop new opportunities is to clear a space of them.
Recognize and Respond to Market Influences
Consider those annual predictions you made back in January or December. Are they still valid? You may find that there is a shift underway that is going largely unnoticed.
Changing market conditions spell opportunity, but only if you are ready and willing to respond.
Does your business have a process in place for periodically examining market conditions? A good time to do this is when your competitors are not – like right now.
My wife worked for Eastman Kodak during the ’80′s. The training and experience she and her colleagues received during their tenure with Kodak has led to many successful careers and businesses. Unfortunately, Kodak itself did not fair too well.
Kodak made minor adjustments, but not soon enough to develop a strategy that could take full advantage of their strengths. This article briefly examines Kodak’s demise, and more importantly provides some insights for how Blackberry maker RIM can avoid the same.
Business vitality starts with recognizing market influences and then quickly responding to them, even if that means taking substantial measures to serve new markets or the same markets in new ways.
The pace of business is moving faster than ever, and that is largely due to technological developments. This may well be the most important lens to use to examine the future of your business.
You can be the best at what you do and fail if the market one day decides to move in a different direction. It happens – and often very quickly.
Be ready for that future now.
How are you keeping your business relevant for trending market influences and consumer behaviors? Leave a comment below – and feel free to share this article on your social networks.
Until next time, Jeff