Never stand still in business
This is something even the world’s biggest and most successful brands have sometimes been guilty of. Unless your company is evolving, the likelihood is that you risk losing vital ground over your competitors. Reinvention is the key to sustaining a profitable and market-leading business.
Some have done it spectacularly well (Nescafé), whilst others (Kodak, British Airways) have dropped the ball at some stage and suffered as a consequence.
In the world of music, no-one was as masterful when it came to reinvention than the late, great David Bowie. Using various guises (Ziggy Stardust, The Thin White Duke) he managed to create new personas that connected with his fans, but just as importantly, he kept the standard of his musical output to an exceptionally high level from the very start of his career, right up until his passing. He didn’t do all this on his own though. He did it by surrounding himself with the most creative producers, musicians and publicists. The Queen of Pop, Madonna, has employed a similar business-minded approach to ensure her longevity in the music industry.
Moving with the times
Moving back to traditional business, Nescafé evolved in reaction to the changing coffee drinking habits of their customers. With fewer people drinking coffee at home and more visiting their nearest high-street coffee shop, they decided to launch the Nespresso coffee machine. This then allowed their customers to make and sample the same great Nescafé taste within their own living space.
However, some companies haven’t been as quick as Kodak to react and because of their slowness to adjust their business model saw profits fall.
Despite the rise in popularity of budget airlines, British Airways stubbornly believed that the BA brand was strong enough in its own right to retain their high positioning in the aviation world. Their initial failure to acknowledge this increased competition damaged the company and forced them to change to future-proof the brand.
They may have existed for over 100 years, but Kodak failed to anticipate the swift escalation of digital photography. Something that they themselves invented. This indecisiveness almost brought the business to its knees. It was only saved by selling off many of its assets and changing their focus.
What makes the latter two examples all the more surprising is that these global brands possess departments specially dedicated to researching and predicting trends. Of course, this is a luxury that very few SMEs can afford, but there are a number of free resources out there to aid SMEs. It’s also up to business owners to hire and partner with the best talent.
When recruiting new team members get a thorough understanding of the numerous skills and abilities they possess to discover if they will improve your business. Even the smallest of teams can contain a team of individuals bursting with the biggest ideas, so never underestimate the capacity of knowledge each person holds.
The days when computer literacy levels were incredibly low have long since passed. Even toddlers are capable of using mobile devices before they’ve even uttered their first word. Online engagement has never been so high and that’s without any unnecessary spending on social media seminars and alike.
Collaboration shouldn’t be viewed as a sign of weakness. Establish a supportive and knowledgeable team of experts to help, just like Bowie did. It will strengthen your business and enable it to reach new heights.