June 22, 2020
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How do we Innovate and what do we innovate to survive the storm?

When a hurricane hits an island it hits with its most violent force, and everyone has to literally baton the hatches: lock yourself inside and board up the doors and windows. You then have very few options but to hope and pray it will pass so that you can go out again.

Once the hurricane is over, it is often followed by a storm, which brings torrential rains that cause massive destruction to infrastructure, deadly mudslides and cause as much if not more, damage.

As a business owner, this analogy should be in our minds now.

The lockdown was the hurricane but this emergence into the economy is the storm, which is leaving an environment profoundly different and uncertain.

Listen to the podcast of Pavlo Phitidis’ discussion about this on 702 & CapeTalk:

Just as there were very different behaviours in lockdown – with clear winners and losers, so there are going to be different behaviours now, which will impact on who wins going forward.

Mindset

The first point of strength or weakness resides within you as a business owner – it is in your mindset and attitude. There are broadly two different mindsets, and you can see the telltale signs of who is who immediately. If I start talking about innovation and finding the opportunities in the new environment, and I find that the business owner focuses on what the government, banks, landlords and other external sources of support are or aren’t doing, then I know this individual is operating on hope and fear.

If the session starts with small talk around the big macroeconomic issues but swiftly focuses on their customers, what the customer is doing differently, and what their new lived experience is – I know this is the earliest stage of innovation. And this individual is driven by the right mindset.

The crisis is not over, it is just changing shape, and we can’t escape it.

Growth

A business owner noted, correctly that the environment is going to be uncertain for a long while yet, years even, and he asked Pavlo how he could rationally make the investment Pavlo suggested at a time like this.

Pavlo’s response is that sometimes growing is not spending and expanding. It may be contracting and re-shaping but always guided not opportunity not fear. It is a deliberate process to preserve capital that will be able to cushion the business against future shocks and simplifies the business which makes it more manageable.

Shrink in a smart way, to be more focused on who you serve rather than the knee-jerk reaction to do whatever it is that can make money right now. If you jump at anything, you’ll soon get caught out as delivering to and servicing this new market will inevitably result in rising costs as it’s not your core business.

Digitise

Regardless of what you’re doing – don’t let go of your early stage digital gains that you were forced to make during lockdown. This has to be doubled down on to ensure you stay competitive.

Innovation

Innovation is talked about at length, but what is it?

If you want to become more innovative you need to do two things:

  1. Ask yourself why you do what you do. If you’re in it purely to make money, you’ll chase the transaction rather than the business. But if you have a longer term view to build something with a legacy, you’ll go to the source of innovation: your customer.
  2. Customers will give you the answers. Speak to them, listen to them, understand their needs: this is the seed of innovation.

 

Aurik works with business owners to help them to find their seeds of innovation, to set their mindset right and to build their businesses into Assets of Value. Contact us to see how we can work together to do the same for you.

 

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