Few organisations - apart from charities, perhaps - exist with obsolescence in mind. Your business exists to satisfy demand (or create it, if you're especially shrewd), and doing this means adapting it for the future.
Whether it's technology, public demand, or the nature of advertising, the landscape of any industry is constantly evolving. Smart businesses prepare for these changes, anticipating evolution, disruption and iteration, all while making the most of their current infrastructure.
Here, we'll break down five integral steps for stretching a business's longevity.
Plan for the Future... Further than that... No, Further Still...
Start-ups tend to suffer from a spot of short-sightedness, preparing for a successful launch without extending their strategy beyond that breakthrough period. However tough the prologue can be, it’s still only one half of a winning business strategy – the other is maintaining that momentum for a continuously great product or service. Keep a close eye on your progress, keep looking for opportunities to evolve key business offerings, and start planning within the means and limitations. Get over those hurdles, and you’ve already hit the ground running.
Keep it Simple
Limitation is the mother of creativity - embrace it.
It’ll likely be years before your business capabilities match their grander aspirations, so in the race towards that one true goal, it’s important not to get too distracted by it. Regularly review all company success stories and current leading products or services – might it be smarter to iterate on current, consistently successful services as a way of retaining customers?
Service offerings have the freedom to evolve and adapt. A dedication to legacy products or services proves that they’re built to last and nurtures customer trust. In other words: would you rather be chasing unicorns, or milking a certified cash cow?
You'll Never Know Enough
...so keep learning. However expertly you hone your skills, the next big industry disruption or competitor will always be waiting on the wings - so it pays to keep on top of an industry’s evolving future.
Think of companies who were once on top of their game: Nokia, MySpace, and Blockbuster Video. Each were titans of their respected market, but refusing to adapt to the demands of the market saw all of them knocked off their pedestals. Learning is about more than self-improvement, it's a vital lifeline for any business's longevity.
Engage with Your Clients
As Harry Gordon Selfridge once opined, the customer is always right; and while that couldn’t be further from the truth (as many retail employees might attest), it’s still a phrase to live by. Listen to your customers – as the service recipients, they know what they want more than you ever will.
Social media can’t be overlooked here: it’s transformed the way that companies engage with their clients, providing an exceptional opportunity to learn from them. Interact with potential clients, learn their frustrations and desires, and respond to some of their most frequently asked questions. Social spaces are a great place to share – but they’re even better for listening.
Invest in People
Don’t be too proud or too rigid to employ new - or even younger - employees. Companies are driven by new blood, new ideas and new target markets, so invite as many into the ranks as you can. Listen to new ideas and methods, but be sure to support those committed employees with regular, updated training.
People are the voice of your company, and by employing those who share its values and messages, they’ll be contributing to a louder, more unique company voice. It’s a big part of the Mirus ethic – and so far it’s been working wonders.
The successful business has a strong strategy and aspiration in mind but isn't afraid to adapt and evolve to get there. While no two strategies will ever be identical, it's safe to assume that they'll have to implement the above steps on their road to success.
For further reading, our blog on Developing Your Company's IT Strategy details how to prepare a company's IT for its next big tech transformation.
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