It goes without saying that if you run your business the same way forever, ultimately you will at best lose out on opportunities or, at worst, kill the business.
Every business needs to change. Some of those changes we can see coming. For example, Mark McCrindle tells us that by 2020 the median age of the Australian population will be 40. This ageing population means we need to adapt with the way we employ people, what we sell and who we sell to.
But will we pay for this boom in older people. Sure that they can work longer, but only to a point. Mark DeCure chairs the the Leaders’ Forum at the Australian Institute for Population Ageing Research — he knows there is a crisis looming, but he’s not quite sure how to fix the problem. So how will your business cope if, in 10 or 15 years, our economy shrinks and attitudes towards consumerism change?
There are other, more imminent changes. Social networking is here to stay and businesses need to adapt to that. Ruth Stevens, Professor of Marketing at Columbia University, says we need to get used to the idea that consumers can now talk back — and that fundamentally changes how we operate.
Social media arrived quickly, but the business world is taking its time to understand and react to it. We know it will be around for some time and it can’t be ignored.
Other types of change can be rapid and short-term. Martin Kneebone gives the Masterchef Phenomenon as an example. A top-rating TV show had us all spending more time experimenting in the kitchen, buying specialist ingredients and updating our cookware. Being able to jump on the back of a short-term fad can be great for short term profits.
Another type of short term change is a crisis. Someone said something out of line in the press, or your product is found defective or harmful, or your share price nose-dives. How would you react? Ross Campbell says every business needs to have a plan for crisis management so they are prepared to cope with an emergency.
Are you ready for any of these types of change? Or will you just carry on the way you always have? Even though, as we know, there is nothing more certain than change.