Change is Good: Why Entrepreneurs of Today Are Lucky
The world is changing at an exponential pace, which is proving to be very difficult to cope for many business leaders around the world. The sense of uncertainty has risen, and although uncertain times are said to be bad for business, the opposite is happening: businesses are thriving, and making more money than any business in history.
Changing times call for a change in the style of leadership. While at one point in time it was necessary for a person to develop an understanding of the business from the ground-up before assuming executive powers (a process that took several decades), now companies have expedited the process: people are becoming the CEO in their 20s or 30s. Either that or the responsibility of generating innovative ideas has been devolved to the mid-tiers where a younger pool of individuals is employed.
This rapid pace of change has taken away a major competitive advantage from companies which prided themselves in their effective management processes. Even with human resources, the priority has shifted from hiring employees who’d most likely conform to the system to hiring those who offer the most flexibility to adjust with the changing dynamics of the workplace. Now, the skill of adaptability reigns supreme, and only those organizations will emerge successful who have a workforce that is capable of adopting new technology and adjusting to changing consumer behavior.
Such an environment may seem too difficult, but bear in mind that no time has ever been considered easy for businesses. In fact, such fast changing times offer an advantage to budding entrepreneurs to carve out their own niche in the market, as it is much easier for their startup to adjust to the changes compared to large organizations which have stringent policies and procedures in place that make it very difficult to change, unless the policies and procedures are changed to account for the fast-changing business environment.
If you are an entrepreneur, we believe you need to adhere to the following advice in order to maximize the benefit you take from this rapidly changing environment of doing business.
Conduct an External Environment Analysis
You should not conduct business without first making an assessment of the environment you operate within, which includes understanding the changes in trends and any potential threats which may arise to challenge your business in the future. Many a times such a proactive approach is not taken, and companies realize only after having received a shock from the market that the external environment is not very favorable to their business.
For example, Safaricom has been in the Kenyan mobile phone business ever since the late 90s, and it was doing excellent before 2016 came and effective threatened the very existence of the business, thanks to a leaked internal financial audit report. The customers, with a majority of young people, took to social media and declared the company’s CEO a thief, unprecedentedly tarnishing the reputation of the brand.
However, the company immediately launched new initiatives to counter the negative narrative, including an initiative called BLAZE which involved their young customers in the development process of their products. At the conclusion of the whole fiasco, Safaricom eventually ended up improving the reputation of its brand and didn’t lose any market share.
Conduct an Internal Environment Analysis
After developing a clear understanding of the external environment, it is now time to align the internal environment of your business, discarding any outdated models that resist change. How effectively a company deals with change depends entirely upon the design of its internal processes and systems. The more autonomous every job function is, the quicker the entire organization will adjust to the change.
Time to Tackle the Challenges
Now that you have a clear position for your business and also understand the environment your business operates within, it is time to isolate the challenges you are likely to face and develop effective plans to tackle them.
For example, PepsiCo has been on a drive to reduce the sugar content in its beverages as it has recognized that consumers are moving towards healthier diets. Instead of waiting around for demand to go down, the company has proactively recognized a changing perception of its customers and dealt with it accordingly.
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