Responding to change or leading it sets your business apart in a crowded marketplace. And the market is crowded!
Listen to Pavlo Phitidis unpack how to build a business to be responsive in this podcast from The Money Show:
The trick is to see the signals of change, grasp them, make changes that respond to them and be the first in the empty space ahead as clients move on from the old to the new.
Getting this wrong or worse, not even seeing the signals of change can be costly. Kodak got it wrong, RIM (BlackBerry didn’t even see it. Andy Grove, co-founder of intel said, “snow melts slowly at the edges, then suddenly in the centre”. A market signal that change is afoot might be mature by the time you see it, and then its too late to respond to it anyway.
Pre-covid, we argued that the forces of change, namely technology, climate and economic exclusion signalled a different future for almost every business. With covid very slowly receding, these forces remain present. Change is inevitable and your choice is to either lead it or be led by it.
To lead it you need to learn fast, respond faster and be prepared to do it again and again….and again.
Getting this right means building your business to be responsive. Getting that right means:
- Purpose – understand that your business exists to solve a problem. This is done through your product or service. Understanding this includes understanding how the problem comes about, why, the cost of the problem persisting and how your product or service solves it. When things change, does the ‘shape’ of the problem change?
- Experience – this is all about the experience clients have when you solve their problem. It begins with how they learn about you, engage with you, and then get serviced by you. Getting this right means you have to understand who your clients are. Broad definitions of a client, based on your belief that your product can solve their problems has no value in understanding this. A narrow definition of client lets you, with empathy and discernment, understand the differences between potential clients in the market, and then craft the right experiences for the right clients to make you relevant to them. When things change, understanding how the ‘shape’ of that experience changes is essential to remain relevant.
- System of Delivery – understanding who your clients are and what experience they want is the cornerstone of building a business. Translating this experience into the activities that make up your business functions means by definition, you are building a responsive business. Change in the market will be quickly felt in your business as a result but there is a second benefit. This is the engine room of your business. Activities that make your business work, empowered by a team that understand what they need to do, when and how, the combination of which create the experience your clients want in having your service or product solve their problems, gives you consistent, reliable growth and releases your time.
- Leadership – with time released from your daily, weekly, monthly operational activities, you can literally climb out of the engine room and onto the bridge of your ship. The bride, often the highest point of a ship is where the captain, using instruments and charts, navigates the and directs the ship whose propulsion comes from the engine room. The captain also looks out for signals that change the weather, current and wave patterns. These signals, only visible from the bridge, are the seeds of change. Responding ahead of the change lets the ship sail ahead, safely, into the clear waters. In your business, on the bridge of your ship, time spent with leading clients, your teams at the coalface of client engagement, your top suppliers and material stakeholders in your industry hold the signals of change.
Leading from the bridge means leading change. A far better place to be that responding to changes brought about by responsive competitors.