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Business is changing. Will you adapt or be left behind?

Tell me if this story sounds familiar: you’re running at full speed and you feel like you’ve been going full speed for a very long time — forever. You seem to be doing the right things. You and your team are working incredibly hard and making progress, but you can’t help thinking: is this how it’s supposed to be? It feels like no matter how hard everyone on the team tries, we never get ahead of our problems. And we obviously need some kind of breakthrough, because we’re obviously not going to win if we keep doing what we do and how we do it.

You live in one of the most dynamic times for business. A tidal wave of change is crashing over everything we know. Old industries and business practices are disappearing

Today’s business environment is changing so fast it seems almost impossible to keep up. But you have to. You have to be quickly able to adopt new ideas and plans while being equally fast at dismissing the trends that never materialized.

Change is rampant. New companies appear while others fade away. Products and processes come and go. In a few years, an industry can change from what seemed a stable oligopoly to fierce, cutthroat competition.

Businesses used to follow a hierarchical structure, with layers of management. Entrepreneurs could make money by organizing the efforts of others. Today businesses are often flatter, with fewer layers separating senior management from junior staff. Teams form to do projects, then disband when the project is completed.

With new technology, goes the popular saying, comes great opportunity. And that’s true of the flood of new ideas and behaviour that has washed over firms in recent years. That flood — the digital revolution — has changed not just how we think about work but, on some level, even what it means to be successful. You can’t get away with doing business as you did before; you can’t remain prosperous while ignoring the big changes occurring on your doorstep. But adapting isn’t free; it requires time and effort and careful consideration of what trends really make sense for your enterprise. I have a recommendation: Be bolder than you have to be. Move faster than you have to.

Currently, organizations are under pressure to increase profits, cut costs, improve productivity and compete in the global market. Globalization has made markets less stable due to fiercer competition, shorter product life cycles and rapid introduction of new technologies precipitating the need for flexibility without compromising on financial stability, control over the workforce and good quality output. Therefore, a workforce with the skills required by the organization is essential.

Technology companies have changed not only the way we do business but also driven emerging businesses to consider outsourcing for non-core functions. It is reducing the costs and barriers to outsourcing in most parts of the world, with remote staffing in developing countries taking off mostly as a reaction to the pandemic still lurking around, enabling people to work from home.

Adapt your business to the new reality. The reason you are struggling is that you are trying to run a 21st-century business in a world that is rapidly changing. I don’t mean your product or service needs to change. Those can be fine just as they are. The problem is almost always with your internal processes, systems, and the way you hire, manage, measure performance, etc.

The old rules of thumb are out of date. Previous business plans will have to be redrawn, automatic assumptions will have to be questioned, accepted strategies will have to be revised

There is a small number of companies that, even in the midst of recession and stagnation, stand outside and amongst the crowd. These companies seize structural opportunities or innovate around those difficulties to offer solutions or products that others don’t offer. Surviving in a recession is an achievement in itself, but thriving under all sorts of challenges shows that the company is unique.

As growth opportunities in the new normal redefine growth, business leaders can reassess how they allocate capital and redesign their business models to better seize those opportunities.

They are dogmatic and daring. They don’t just react to problems and changes, they anticipate and lead the change and provide solutions not yet imagined by their peers. They exude confidence and find ways to represent their company as a seamless extension of the self.

It is impossible to foresee what your employees, customers, suppliers and competitors will be doing next. The world is an incredibly dynamic place. But how can you make sure you are anywhere near what’s coming next? For that matter how do you even know what’s coming?

How can you adapt to the ever-changing business environment?

Find and reassess growth opportunities:

It is much easier to deal with a rapidly changing business environment if you have found and reassessed continuously the right growth opportunities.

How can you learn to reinvent and adapt your business model and products? Innovation is essential for businesses that want to survive in an increasingly competitive environment. To be competitive, a company must have the ability to successfully re-launch itself as new markets change.

That might mean constantly thinking about where your product or service can go next, constantly nurturing emerging opportunities, and constantly bringing in new blood with new perspectives. When developing growth opportunities, it’s important to avoid getting paralyzed with self-doubt.

A business that does not change will ultimately fail. The challenge for companies is therefore to renew themselves continuously. This is usually done through a strategy of growth; existing markets are expanded and new markets are entered, either by exploiting resources or entering new geographic territories.

Purpose behind money-making:

A company needs to have a purpose beyond making money. This is because the business environment keeps changing so fast that selling products based on yesterday’s expectations are no longer possible, particularly in technology. Making money today might be difficult or impossible, but spending all your time working to keep the company afloat makes it impossible to keep an eye on tomorrow.

A purpose gives a company a reason to hope beyond the immediate future, beyond the next product release.

This is why I argue that purpose-built companies are better suited to the modern world. By this, I don’t mean companies with a vague do-gooder mission statement found on their website. I mean companies that are designed internally to take full advantage of the environment they work in.

If you take shortcuts now, it may hurt your business later. If you care too much about initial revenue and profitability, you will be tempted to design whatever products and services will sell rather than whatever will serve your customers best to hold onto and maximize the long-term value of whatever assets you build. The results of this can be seen in the fact that companies like Apple never stop resting on their laurels and continue to report record profits quarter after quarter even as other businesses falter.

Enabling and supporting learning and adaptability

Enabling and supporting learning and adaptability is imperative for today’s leaders. While we often think of volatility in terms of change and uncertainty, we often don’t consider how it can drive growth and opportunity. If we want to create new business opportunities, our organizations need to become more adaptable so they can bring new ideas to market faster than competitors. As the landscape shifts, businesses need to be on the lookout for disruption.

In this kind of environment, the company that gives employees the best chance to develop their skills and use those skills in ways that matter to them will have a huge advantage over its competitors.

We are in an era where the ability to think independently, question collective wisdom, and create new solutions to old problems will be more important than ever. We need leaders who can foster a culture of continuous learning. We need managers who are not afraid to let go of the old way of doing things when it doesn’t work anymore. We cannot stick with what was good enough yesterday.

Consider multiple perspectives:

The ability to see things from different perspectives is an essential competence in life. All high-performers, need to do this. Seeing things from many perspectives, you end up with a clearer understanding than if you just rely on your own experience.

with multiple perspective, you take a step back and try to see the world from distinct perspectives — perhaps even the perspective of your enemy.

By identifying the new opportunities based on other perspectives, you are able to move quicker than your competitors. You can recognize patterns before others do, see connections sooner, capitalise on emerging trends even before they are very visible.

Redefine your business strategy and business model

One reason why people find it hard to adapt to change is that they are locked into one way of thinking. Change requires you to change your business strategy and business model.

Innovative business strategies have to absorb the lessons from a shifting operational reality and a changing business environment in order to grow.

Here are the facts. Business models change. The rules of business are constantly being rewritten, sometimes in significant ways. Industries rise and fall. New ones are invented every day, others are consolidated out of existence. What this means is that business today is an evolutionary process. If your business model isn’t changing, then it’s dead.”

Reinvention is the essence of entrepreneurship. Throughout its history, every business goes through multiple stages of evolution. Every phase requires a different strategy to succeed. To outlive their competitors, smart entrepreneurs need to embrace “creative destruction

What was yesterday’s big idea is often today’s outdated business model. The modern business environment is changing at an alarming rate. Everything that you used to know about the market, its demands, its preferences, and how it operated is now obsolete.