identify which events have the greatest potential to disrupt it. You also need to consider which sources to consult to stay ahead of the curve. Most importantly, you should have a long-term view of where you want your business to be in, say, five years,” he says.
One of the major trends impacting businesses is technology. New processes and products are constantly being introduced. The dropping price of broadband and the introduction of a wider variety of cheaper devices, with smartphones leading the pack (particularly in emerging markets), are making it easier to access information.
“You may have to view your operations, products and services in this light,” notes Govender. “Instead of buying equipment that could be obsolete within a year, you could be better off saving the capital and leasing equipment instead. If your business relies on marketing, the technological revolution could mean swopping from printed material to electronically-delivered catalogues.”
He says that asking, “What if?” about your business and the industry that you work in is also important.
Think about new processes that could be introduced, which competitors could enter the market and how your products or services would measure up. The key to success is being able to look at your business with a critical eye, evaluate how it operates, and how things could be improved to maintain your competitive edge.
Evaluate your customer base. Always be aware of who your customers are, what they want and where they live. By keeping an eye on the area in which your business is situated ituated or areas eas you serve, , you can identify fy changes in the neighbourhood hood and be able ble develop your offerings accordingly to increase your sales.
Govender ovender explains: “You may find, for example, ple, that young, upwardly mobile professionals ssionals are buying or renovating houses in the area. By knowing this, you could develop products or services that would be of interest to them and create new market opportunities for your business.
“It may seem irrelevant to think about the environment when considering your small business. The truth, however, is that people are becoming increasingly conscious about the impact they have on the environment.”
It would be misguided to think that your business won’t be impacted because people love your products and don’t care about the materials or packaging you use. By taking action to ensure that you use recyclable materials and that your products have no or a reduced adverse impact on the planet, you could be safeguarding the future of your business.
In his TED talk titled Profit’s Not Always the Point, COO of Unilever Harish Manwani argues that 21st century companies have to look beyond self-interest and embrace responsible growth if they want to thrive. He urges companies to define a purpose that embraces responsibility.