Reflecting on how difficult it is in today’s rapidly changing environment to develop a successful business and achieve growth, I’d like to share a recipe for success passed along during an event organised by TiE North West – the not for profit entrepreneurs network who support start-ups and growing businesses with their mentoring programme.
Out of a great number of relevant tips given during the event, one of the most compelling speakers I’ve heard was Phil Jones, Managing Director of Brother UK.
Pointing at agility and readiness to change as critical elements for business and organisational growth, Brother UK is a fantastic example of a business demonstrating AGILITY and ability to CHANGE in order to achieve continued growth even during poor economic times.
Realising the strategic importance of the message Phil delivered for business owners and start-ups, I decide to share this knowledge.
Think outside the box, things change!
The last 7 years have been in all probability the most disruptive in history in terms of economies, technology developments and the way many markets have evolved. This has been hugely demanding when it comes to changes in the way businesses are being run and the subsequent development strategies created to adapt. During that same period of change, has come the power in the voice of consumers in their ability to heavily influence the success or failure of a business through social and digital media. That has forced businesses to become more customer rather than product centric, which in turn, creates a stronger business with more customer loyalty and buy-in. Ultimately, it also means you need to become more agile to deliver what your clients require.
What is agility?
It’s a good question! What does agility really mean? Each business will have its own unique understanding of what agility is. Each business and organisation will employ different tactics, use different tools and methods to provide the level of flexibility required and continually adapt to market and economic changes. The bottom line with agility is, however, to develop such a flexible business model that it allows you to instantly adapt to the external changes in your market or economic environment as or even before they happen.
Achieving agility is not the work of a moment, but a top down change in the way you look at and develop each part of your business over time. Changes should filter through all areas of the business and particularly the people in the organisation. Therefore, having right leaders and brand advocates who are ready to adapt to ongoing requirements of your target audience, the market and economic environment are all important things to consider. Your people should also be given an opportunity to contribute using their skills and be empowered with the level of freedom necessary for creative thinking. It is also important to create more flexible short term strategies that aim toward the longer term goal but can be adapted easily according to the changes in your business environment.
Here comes the next generation…
It is important to remember that before long, it will not be you or I leading (not managing) the business forward across the marketing, sales or IT departments but Generation Y and Z. Today’s young generation are by nature of the timeline they have grown up in, more technology astute, commercially aware and already understand the world of social and digital media because it’s them who have driven it over the last decade. They are more agile, flexible to change and tech savvy than any previous generation and this can be a huge benefit to your business. So when thinking about your strategy it may be time to invest in the tech generation to compliment your experienced team and improve your business agility!
Change is inevitable, embrace it…
Whether we like it or not, change is as in inevitable in business as it is in life and the sooner we realise that, the better placed we are to survive, succeed and grow. Businesses and other organisations who ignored the oncoming digital age and neglected consumers demand for increased flexibility and accountability have and will continue to fail. So creating a more agile model should become a priority for any business seeking success and growth.
Three of the key elements to consider in becoming agile are; changing your leadership approach – lead don’t “manage”; changing organisational culture – become a team and empower creative thinking; lastly, prepare for the next generation who already have the digital, social and tech skills we need to develop.
Share your business experience by commenting below and let us know whether you think agility is the way forward.