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10 May 2022

6 Keys to Long Term Business Health

Jairek Robbins

Many businesses that are started struggle through the initial stages, grow and enjoy some success, and then fade into oblivion as new competitors emerge and sweep them in the dust. However, some businesses maintain their position at the top not just for years but for decades. What causes this difference so that some firms appear to be built to last while others stumble and fade away? The key lies in the extent to which a business retains its entrepreneurial thinking regardless of the stage at which it reaches.

Put another way, entrepreneurial thinking operates on the edge and is responsible for bringing new solutions to customer needs. So, if a company isn’t growing in its way of serving customers, then that firm is dying because it is only a matter of time before customers look elsewhere for better solutions.

To ensure that your business remains healthy for the long term, consider making the following suggestions hallmarks of your operations.

Focus on addressing new needs and sniffing out new trends

What you know today is already obsolete. Long term business success relies on how quickly you can learn new things and convert them into solutions to the real problems faced by customers. For this reason, you need to devote ample attention to identifying the new needs of your target customers and then finding solutions to address those needs.

It is also important for your business to sniff out new trends and think of how to incorporate them in your solutions or products. Otherwise, a new trend can wipe out your business and leave you wondering what hit you.

A clear example is the sad story of Kodak. They failed to sniff the change to digital photography and by the time they woke up, it was too late to regain their position at the top of the photography industry.

If you are always focusing on new needs and trends, your business will always be relevant regardless of how fast change is happening.

Don’t penalize risk-taking

It is important to create a culture that encourages team members to experiment and come up with new innovations. Some firms, such as Google and Amazon, which live by this philosophy actually allow employees to use a portion of their work day to try out new things or work on some innovative idea they have.

In such an environment, no one will castigate you for trying something new and it fails. Instead, you will be seen as a courageous person who tried, and your effort will be analyzed for lessons that can be extracted.

When this way of looking at failure takes root, it is only a matter of time before your team starts churning out industry-disrupting products, solutions and services.

Focus on customer value (not cutting costs)

As businesses grow, they get to a point where management is tempted to devote lots of resources to optimizing their processes and systems in order to maximize revenue. While this isn’t inherently bad, it can inadvertently reward people for maintaining the status quo and yet the long term health of the business depends on being innovative.

A better way to channel resources is to keep looking for ways to deliver greater value to customers. This can take the form of product improvement (adding new features, for example), better equipment (to cut production costs and therefore be price competitive), and coming up with entirely novel product lines addressing the unmet customer needs.

That is how Amazon and other such firms seem to enjoy endless growth and an unassailable command of market share. When emphasis is placed on offering better customer value, a company will be among those built to last.

Look outside not inside for growth

Internal metrics don’t score highly in triggering innovations, so your business needs to look outside to spur the needed change. For example, artificial intelligence is disrupting the gaming segment. How can you leverage AI in your own industry and bring the next disruption to that space?

You can also take a look at your own industry and analyze your competition as well as the fast-rising stars in that space. What new spins are they bringing to the game and how can you innovate something better?

As you constantly scan the horizon, you will spot numerous opportunities to be innovative and stay relevant to your customers and their evolving needs.

Reward grit and persistence in problem-solving

A business will last for as long as it solves the real problems of its customers. For this reason, your firm should establish mechanisms through which employees who exhibit grit and persistence in solving customer problems are identified and rewarded, especially those who come up with innovative solutions.

Think about grit and persistence in this way; Thomas Edison only succeeded in inventing the light bulb after trying and failing almost a thousand times. To him, each failed attempt was a success because it revealed an option that wouldn’t work!

It is such innovative grit and persistence that will keep the health of your business in good shape for years and decades into the future.

Limit top-down decision making

Every time team members aren’t given an opportunity to contribute to the decision making process, their drive to deliver exceptional outcomes is curtailed. However, when they are part of the decision-making process, they own the decisions made and strive to attain the set objectives.

For that reason, employees should be given space within which to contribute their ideas in order to move the business forward. Encourage them to be open and give them chance to implement their suggestions. Your next big break could come from one of those employee ideas!

In conclusion, ensuring the sustained health of your business calls for being continuously open to change, especially change that serves your current and future customers better. And, the measures above can get you going on the right path to building a business that will last. It will take hard work, but that hard work will be worth it when you see the heights your business is scaling. See you at the top!



To Your Success,

Jairek Robbins

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