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Hold yourself in Business – 27 years on

Only looking at the business failure rates will allow you to appreciate how demanding it is to keep a business alive and profitable in today’s environment. From the GFC to the recent COVID-19 pandemic, countless businesses have stumbled and fallen. The constantly evolving market is a test of survival for all businesses. Except a company’s success doesn’t depend as much on overcoming external conditions, which affect all businesses, as those inside the company. It is having stability in the core yet flaunting that disruptive edge that keeps the business ahead. Plus, the ability to laugh when things get tough never goes astray.

Similar to your own health, the way you operate your business sets in motion your company’s life longevity. Many businesses are focusing on serving their customers, owning resources, being efficient and growing, but long-standing businesses will place greater focus on getting better, not bigger.

Long-term success takes more than hard work and a little luck. The longevity of a business, especially for 27 years, can be achieved by keeping in mind the following 4Ps – Passion, People, Purpose, and Progress.

Passion 

Success starts with your passion. Passion is the fuel that inspires and drives you to achieve your business goals, no matter how unlikely or difficult they may be. Passion can’t be taught. Finding out what your “why” is, is entirely up to you. There’s no right or wrong answer. Time to get out the pen and piece of paper and put down all the reasons you started the business and why you like being your own boss. That should renew your passion.

People

A business is only as successful as its employees, and that goes for all, whether you’re a multi-national or a small business. At times, even the most amazing employees need direction and encouragement to succeed. Your employees will follow your lead. Leaders who are most successful don’t make it about them – they make it about their people. Consider your people within the business and check in with staff morale. A simple compliment or incentive will translate into a happier and more productive team member. We can’t operationalize a culture of engagement by ourselves. Ultimately, it is your staff mix that creates the flavour of your business that keeps your customers coming back for more.

Consider your customers too. If you are not engaged in the business community, then your competition is. We engage with many – our clients and prospects, our staff, our competitors, and even the media on occasion. Business environments are constantly metamorphosing these days – especially in the digital sphere– which means you need to find innovative ways to engage with your people. To sum up, truly believe in putting people first as the best way you can invest in your business.

Purpose 

The main reason for such “business failures” has been due to the lack of substance in the enterprise. So, stay rooted in why you started. Always stay focused and plan your future success. Reflect on your business organisation with questions like: “How do I structure your team?”, “How do I hire people?”, “How do I craft my products, services, business model and company culture?”, “How much autonomy, freedom of choice do I give to my people?”. These questions and many more will shape your business and set its life expectancy. There is no correct or proven formula for success planning don’t let that stop you from being incredibly strategic – even start looking 20 to 30 years ahead to understand how society is evolving, how you can shape it, and how your people can work to do this. Be engaged and prepare for success on an ongoing basis, not just when you are in start-up mode.

Progress

Markets change and technology advances. Like human survival, business survival requires adapting to the surrounding environment. It may be hard to teach an old dog new tricks, but for the well-established companies that are open to it, change is their fountain of youth. By continually adapting, they leverage emerging trends and transformative evolutions that help them grow.

 

The old saying “Rome wasn’t built in a day” applies here. You’ve got to plant, cultivate, and nurture your business if you want your ‘seedling’ to become an unwavering and successful business. Continue to water and feed your business with the organisational management, innovation, diversification, and internationalisation it needs so that it will carry your values for the rest of its lifespan.

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