No matter how many evolutions your business model goes through, there are several aspects of your company that should never change: your company's core values, a focus on short-term goals, and loyalty to your customers.
When you prioritize these components, your chances of success increase tremendously.
In many industries, like technology and healthcare, the business landscape is constantly changing.
A company cannot expect success if it refuses to evolve and progress. Despite the changes a business goes through, there are still evergreen strategies to ensure success in the long run.
Stay Nimble Working toward Long-Term Goals
It is possible to work toward long-term business goals, even when the future of your industry is uncertain. "Mastering the Rockefeller Habits" by Verne Harnish outlines a great theory about this: Harnish suggests defining a business-wide ideology composed of core values, a core purpose, and a "big, hairy audacious goal," otherwise known as a "BHAG." This ideology will work as a guiding light for your company's future as you and your team work to achieve short-term goals.
- By focusing on daily, weekly, or quarterly goals, your company is more likely to achieve its long-term goals. Short-term goals give you and your company leeway to explore and adapt to current market conditions while still keeping the big picture in sight. With this framework, all your smaller goals fit with your core ideology. One smaller goal checked off the list takes your company one step closer to your ultimate BHAG.
Establish Productive Short-Term Goals
Establishing short-term goals should be a deliberate process. When brainstorming new goals, assess them with your business's core ideology in mind. If they don't align with or support that ideology, you and your company shouldn't pursue them. Don't set a goal that can only be achieved in five years and run toward it blindly, ignoring everything else.
Quarterly goals give you time to reflect and reassess frequently and adjust your strategy as needed. Each goal doesn't need be a shining success to add value; sometimes, the most educational moments result from plans that fall apart. Just remain focused so each decision moves you closer to your ultimate goal - and your ideology is ingrained in leaders' minds.
Go with the Change
Aside from determining your business's core values and sticking to them, what can be done to ensure prosperity in an uncertain business climate? As changes come your way, follow these tips to assist you in reaching long-term goals:
- Don't force opportunities. As a business owner, you might see an exciting business opportunity, but your company might not be interested in it. If you force it upon your staff, you'll struggle with unhappy employees and a high turnover rate. Find opportunities that work with the strengths your company already has, and strive to develop one unified vision of the future within your company. Get to know your employees, either in person or with video calls and learn what excites them.
- Encourage idea-sharing. Make sure that there is always a non-disruptive channel open for employees to toss around ideas. Set up a suggestion box or use an online tool that gives people a place to brainstorm new business ideas.
- Don't neglect cash now. New initiatives are fun and interesting, but as a smart business leader, you must know where the money's coming from. It's a careful balancing act between testing out new revenue streams and keeping the existing streams running. As all business leaders should know, a business will die without cash flow.
- Learn from others. You can learn a lot from other successful companies with similar business models. Find them and study what they're doing that works. Reach out to them with an email or phone call. Until you find your footing in your own niche, you can make progress by emulating others.
Change in the business world is inevitable, and the smartest choice is to learn to roll with it. In the midst of an evolution, you have to hold fast to your company's values and strive to work for your customers. Each day at work - and each small goal completed - is another step toward your business's ultimate objective. Don't lose sight of that goal or the journey your company must take to achieve it.
Bio: Peter Baumgartner is the founder of full-service web studio Lincoln Loop, makers of Ginger, an online platform to help distributed teams communicate. Peter is an expert in Django-based web development and a thought leader in entrepreneurship and remote teamwork. He welcomes anyone to reach out to him on Twitter or Google+.