Change is happening faster than ever before, and it is impacting everything that touches your business. Customer needs, employee expectations, technology innovation, global competition, changing political environment, some of the basic ‘rules’ of society are shifting almost overnight.
If you are still doing business like you did 2 years ago, STOP IT! What used to be a 5-year cycle takes about 10 minutes today.
Being an entrepreneur means that you are a creator - a disrupter - an energy force led by a vision and a purpose.
Change is constant and no one is more aware of this than the owner of a small business. That does not make it easy to manage day to day. It is up to you as the business leader to use the energy of change to drive innovation that builds your dream business.
“With inflation, supply chain, hiring challenges, and chaos all around me, how can I possibly focus on innovation?”
It is because of these things that you must be intentional about what is next for your business. Innovation is an essential and ongoing component of business planning. As the leader you need to be on the leading edge of your business, not stuck in the day-to-day delivery of services.
5 Steps to take now for a stronger business tomorrow
1. Get Real
Know your numbers. This is not last year’s tax return or your bank balance. Yes, these are important, but they are looking backward. The very nature of innovation requires that you look forward. Trends in your key performance indicators will help you make decisions, see opportunities, and handle challenges before they become big problems.
2. Know Your Market
What is your competition doing? What are they not doing? What do your clients want and what do they need? When you can predict what they need before they ask you are on the leading edge in yo
ur business. Small shifts make a big difference, pay attention!
3. Be THAT Company
Be the company everyone wants to work for. Easier said than done in today's challenging employer environment. Our workforce is changing and so are their expectations. Understanding what your ideal employee needs to feel appreciated and valued (75% of team members leave because they don’t feel valued) and what makes them feel appreciated and valued may be different than what that means to you. Ask them! It is often the little things that make a big difference.
4. Embrace Change
Don’t lower your quality standards, be open to new ways of delivering it. Your business is impacted every day by change, your customers and your team are too. Assuming that the way you offer your product and the product itself will always be in demand will lead you in the direction of the Yellow Pages and K-Mart.
5. Pay Attention
Getting stuck in the mindset of ‘once I get ‘there’ I can relax, and my business will just run itself’ is a dangerous place for a business owner to get stuck. You can (and should) build a business that can work without you; however for that business to be relevant in the future you need to have a culture of innovation and awareness throughout the team.
Stay aware of what is going on around you, join industry or entrepreneurial think tanks, masterminds, associations. Watch what is happening in adjacent industries. What are people complaining about and what problems can you solve for them?
You likely started your business because you knew you could do something better than others were doing it. Keep that mindset alive as your business grows. Personal growth, building new relationships, hiring new people, taking time away, are all essential to keeping the innovation forces flowing within.
Use your time to prioritize the goals for your business. The time is NOW to take charge and make long lasting changes to benefit both you and your business.