Business today has become more complex than it has ever been in decades. The world of artificial intelligence and technology has radically changed the way we transact, interact and act as a society. The concepts; speed, agility and “loopology” shape the sustainability of business today more than ever before in the history of humankind.
The old, stale and pale way of doing business is fast finding itself at the back paddle. Allow me to unpack the new tactics and growth-led business concepts.
Having dealt with entrepreneurs for over a decade, it has become quite evident to me that any business that wants to make it past start-up stage must be faster than its competitors. When a consumer is faced with deciding where to procure their goods and services, it must be without any doubt that you can deliver faster than any of the competitors in the market. People today are not eager to stand in long queues or wait to receive a product in a week or two. Ergo, the success of brands like Amazon, Takealot and Uber is based on the use of speed to bring services to the consumer at almost zero marginal cost.
Agility is the ability to think and understand quickly. And today more than ever we require business owners and entrepreneurs that can easily comprehend the needs of the consumer. The consumer wants to be understood today. For instance, the consumer today is not amused by the packaging of the goods or the means by which they access those good and services, they just need to get what they want and when they want it. In my experience, it is important to make sure the entrepreneur is able to identify his or her consumer and understand their needs quickly and think on their feet as those needs change because even though you understand those needs, if you do not change as the market changes, you are doomed to be left behind by those who are constantly imitating to innovate. The story of Kodak leaves a huge mark when you think of those who were grounded in thinking that understanding the consumer is enough to succeed in business and therefore, there is no need to change.
Loopology is a concept that we look at in business as you create market share, you will find loops where the market demands your goods and services. It is nothing more than a slope where opportunity increases and therefore presents maximum results yield at a particular point in time. Typically, businesses miss this loop because they never anticipate the slope or are unable to read opportunities as they present themselves. Business today also fails to create those loops because it is stuck in old non-risky business tactics. Whereas, in my view, risk is nothing but an eventuality that will happen and more importantly, a place of learning for business.
If these three tactics find no expression in your business as you move from start-up to emerging stages, you will soon be a stale and pale business with no growth prospects.
Finally, every small business needs to understand that the most important pillar in scaling a business is strategy execution. It goes without saying that “if you fail to plan, then you plan to fail”, however my philosophy is that it’s better to execute a “half-cooked” strategy than to have a brilliant strategy with no execution. Too often, entrepreneurs have the most fantastic ideas and strategies, but their businesses remain stagnant because they fail to take action. Entrepreneurs see strategy as a tool for large corporates and therefore get caught up working in their businesses as employees, forgetting that in order for their small business to get to the next level of success, the end goal with an action plan, need to be defined upfront in order to track, measure performance and take the necessary action expediently should the defined strategy not be relevant or ineffective in bringing the desired success.
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