And I thought you only used paint brushes to paint.
What has driven the innovation surge
The high growth businesses born in or after the ‘global financial crisis’ have never known anything other than the patchwork economic conditions and the constant disruptions we’ve seen in the last few years. But in this turbulent time, they’ve formed a new generation of fast-growth SMEs that have exploited a unique mix of technology, people and innovation.
It’s a great story of how the global financial crisis and the structural changes that have followed have forced business to adapt and change. They’re lean, hard working and they’re growing like wildfire.
Today you have to manage costs very tightly. Spend as little as possible on stuff that doesn’t grow sales or grow your customer base. Things like fancy cars, office furniture and extravagant socialising, and spend as much as you can afford to on things that drive sales and growth in your business like good people and marketing.
“By staying up to date with trends and issues, you stay with the times and keep evolving fro a better future”. Peter Sergeant
Of course, trends help with creativity and innovation
Defying the turbulent economy. When the going gets tough don’t spend a penny unless it is going to grow profitable sales or improve your sustainability. Defying adverse trends is not going to be an issue if you contain you working hours. All work and no play make ‘Jack a dull boy’ and it will become increasingly harder to keep up with the trends.
Health and well-being. Healthy people grow healthy businesses, or is it the other way around healthy business lead to healthy people. Eating well, exercising regularly, having plenty of sleep will give you a better sense of well-being, improve your productivity and you will control any stressors better.
It’s too hard doing it by yourself. We are living in a complex globalised environment with exponential growth in technology to the point where you can’t possibly do everything you need to do well. Outsourcing is now a well-accepted practice in small enterprises, improving profits, reducing stress and putting the fun back into the business.
Most innovation comes from solving problems and frustrations for customers. Get even closer to your good customers they are the backbone of your business and the ones who can help you most with innovation.
Do more with less. This generally means two things. Improve your utilisation of new technology and training your stakeholders better. You have to do the same things in smarter and more productive ways. SMEs will increasingly take advantage of big data solutions, which lets businesses make faster and more informed decisions.
Content marketing. A feature of the new marketing environment is the growth in the importance of content marketing. It is being used to not only attract the right customers but also to service them in a more reliable, practical and useful way.
Sales cycles and been replaced with buying cycles. Customers are in control no longer requiring the sales support of the past. Social media and inbound marketing platforms are being used to improve customer service and the customer experience.
Globalisation in a smaller world. Today many business startup international. Technology has made the world smaller and a much easier place in which to do business. The exporting opportunities are putting new life into old businesses.
From little things, big things grow. Even though it may be modest, introduce an innovation program. There are many things you can do to improve customer service and improve the overall performance of the business. However, to do this effectively spasmodic improvement and innovation will fall short.
Mobility should be high on your priority list. Not only are employees and volunteers demanding better more flexible working arrangements, it also makes good business sense.
Millennials are making their presence felt. They are actively seeking a mobile a better lifestyle than their predecessors. They have no problem working remotely, but they expect to have the right technology to assist them. They also expect their employer to be supportive of their community and social issues.
Lifestyle issues. With the increase in social media and better access to information and knowledge people are re-evaluating their work/life balance, or in other words their lifestyle. People are recognising that there are more things in life than money.
Burnout. In our fast paced world burnout can be a real problem if you have bad work habits, become overloaded or your don’t understand the two forms of stress, distress and eustress.
The home-based business. Operating from home can be a big challenge, but where there is a will, there is a way. The benefits are considerable which is why this trend is gaining momentum.
Entrepreneurs are driving the future. While you might not be a real entrepreneur you can certainly take on board many of the key attributes that help entrepreneurs to make progress when others continue to struggle. If you are not an entrepreneur then look to have one you confide in.
The magic of thinking big. If you want to grow bigger in a turbulent economy give consideration to finding and developing partnerships and alliances. There are benefits to be had for both parties. Look at the areas in which you are weak and then look for the most suitable partnerships. Partnerships could well be a corporation, big business, governments or a local business wanting to cooperate to compete. Whether it be marketing, technology or financial issues partnerships are trending up for smaller enterprises.
Niche enterprises will be more successful. Business success will come from focusing on smaller, very specific customer bases and meeting very specific needs that are unprofitable for bigger competitors. The Loyal customers will replace mass marketing or ‘shotgun’ marketing, you will need a well-aimed rifle approach.
New financial nativities. Recent times have seen fundraising to become much easier with many new initiatives such as crowdfunding. There are many more financial options available but only for who maintain an ‘Investor Ready’ status.
Governance. Many small organisations are understanding the importance of good governance and its role in maintaining profitable growth and sustainability.
Nothing is forever. Many people are starting new businesses with the end in mind. They spend time on their succession planning so there are no surprises at the end. while ever circumstances can change quickly an unprepared business is exposed to more risk than is necessary.
Accountability and commitment. Without these two things, you will be taking too much risk. That doesn’t mean you have to become risk adverse, but you don’t leave your business to chance.
Isolation and loneliness. This problem is diminishing in regional, rural and remote communities with the advent of new technologies and transport systems. Remoteness to the world is becoming less of an issue and more of a lifestyle.
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Keeping an eye on key trends and new developments, of course, is always an imperative for any business that wants to see profitable growth and a long-term sustainable business.
Over the years I have seen the best and worst of business circumstances from droughts and flooding rains, rural recessions, dumping, to inappropriate behaviours of both business owners and suppliers.
The one thing that has stood me in good stead has been maintaining my values in the face of adversity. I also do everything I can to keep on top of trends and issues and stay ahead of the curve.