Three (3) steps to sustaining your business in a fast-changing economy


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Renewal and innovation are key drivers of competitiveness in the fast-changing 21st century economy. Given rapid changes in consumer tastes, technology, and the competitive landscape, every business must consistently measure how its products and services are performing against substitutes and new entrants.

That alertness will stimulate actions leading to renewal of forms and formats of existing services or products. Where necessary it will also help scope a steady stream of new offerings.

These deft approaches are valid across industries because products and services go through a life circle that often reduces their relevance as consumers’ cravings realign with new tech, fashion, and thinking.

Take for instance, one NFL team’s resolve to change its discriminatory nickname, ‘Red-Skin’, to some tags that resonate with the #BlackLivesMatter movement; or Guinness Nigeria’s new strategic focus in producing a mixture comprising herbs to serve a new generation of young men and women who value wellness. Facebook Inc.’s proposed new tweak to Instagram to match Tik Tok’s teen-centric features is also an instance of how businesses renew their offerings to match steady changes within strategic group.

Without making these consistent improvements, the gleam and excitement that greet any product or services will fade shortly as spring turns to summer. Besides, innovations are short-lived in the modern market. Any new innovative offering soon becomes a norm as competitors gear up efforts to match or surpass disruptive entrants.

It is therefore essential for businesses to manage their offerings as they go through a life-cycle comprising launch, reception, acceptance, growth, saturation, and decline. Every product or service goes through that cycle though. Now that present 3 critical challenges to businesses. The challenges are:

  1. how to understand the way products and services age – it involves researching the market and comparing how the business’ products stack up against new entrants; after all every old lady can measure her relevance by looking at young girls’ dress-sense and how they relate in a new world
  2. how to find new products and services to replace ageing ones – planning is key here; that can only happen when businesses crunch data collated from market, or insights from new movements such as the slim-beauty, environmental activism, racial, and gender movements, and government policies and economic realities
  3. how to adapt marketing strategies – this part is critical to success since every great product and service is an offshoot of exceptional marketing strategy; look at how Joe Biden pivoted to Kamala Harris as VP and running mate to tap ongoing racial and gender sentiments in providing a strong challenge to the resilient Donald Trump at the upcoming election. This looks flimsy but such smart strategy works in business too when expanding products market shares.

On the whole, nature abhors stagnation. Nothing stays the same in the business environment. Therefore, a business that isn’t good at forward thinking and environment-scanning cannot survive the 21st century’s tough and innovative environment.

The 3 steps to making innovation possible in your business are:

  1. Create an enabling environment – environment acts as  a major conditioning tools for fostering desired behaviours. Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Nike work hard to create an environment that supports innovation. Encourage disruptive thinking, idea bootlegging, smart inquisitiveness, and time off to work on new insights.
  2. Nurture creative innovativeness – when any new idea crops up hedge it to protect it from bureaucracy; If possible, raise a venture team around the owner of the idea to expand it, and see what can come out of it as soon as possible.
  3.  Reward innovative ingenuity – Whatever is rewarded will be reinforced. Create an award or some sort of incentives to encourage your business team to dream big. That certainly will help each team member to focus on seeing new opportunities, better still, pursue new ideas.

Toyin Afilaka
Toyin Afilaka
Toyin Afilaka writes with simplicity and insight. He aims to enrich the Nigerian small business landscape. Through Hustle24 he connects entrepreneurs with information about new policies, enterprise solutions and opportunities that will aid their 'hustle'. He has written extensively for CobraReview, a product review portal, and served as a lead project manager for MarketingMix where he consulted as PR consultant for MTN Project Fame and Business Next Titan etc.


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