… sometimes it’s risky business… other times it’s the best thing you never did… and often, it’s absolutely what you should do. Especially if it makes you feel a little nervous…
As you’re all very aware, I’m one of those folk who use [with abandon] proverbs related to the SME world. I’m quite candid in being a touch self-deprecating in this sense also…
So, this months’ proverb is one which has been used regularly as a book-title, presentation-header… and in plenty of boardrooms, meetings and countless other places.
What does “Staying ahead of the curve” mean to my business?
Loosely, it means that you’re managing the careful act of remaining adept, focused and aware of opportunities, before they arise and being absolutely prepared for them. You’re well-connected to your market by listening to your customer, client, or whomever you service. In fact, you’re so well ‘tuned-in’ to them that you know what they’re likely to want before they want it. You’re designing, developing and strategising your business’s service or product by anticipating the next potential market “swing”.
“They’re always ahead of the curve”
The oft-heard comment [sometimes with a loaded-tang of frustration]… Just how do they manage it?
Retaining and nurturing a culture of innovation in your business – whether that means just you or your team – is key to staying ‘ahead of the curve’. Recently I’ve heard a lot of commentary on the importance of supporting ‘intrapreneurship’ in larger corporations – well, here’s the thing, why don’t you foster that approach in your small business? Actively engaging your team [big or small] in looking for better, more customer-focused, more ‘forward-thinking’ solutions?
Are you in risk of becoming a dinosaur?
Because we all know what happened to them. Growth doesn’t just happen – you need to support it. How? By understanding your route to growth.
- New products?
- New services?
- New markets?
What does growth look like for your business? If you don’t know – find out. Businesses trundling along in their current market, with very little vision of future growth, or what it looks like, are often the first casualties when market changes – seen or unseen – happen.
Don’t leave yourself at risk of being a hostage to fortune. A constant systematic review process [I am a fan of three-monthly, however more regular is even better] ensures your business model is performing, monitors successes and appraises opportunities as they arise.
Remember to have a sense of humour
Not everything goes to plan. This is an absolute reality of business. Sometimes it can be catastrophic… oftentimes it’s simply that an unseen or unknown factor causes an obstacle / road-bump along the way. One of the key factors in business success is resilience [aka bouncebackability], being able to move on from a situation and taking the time to understand why it didn’t go to plan.
When push comes to shove… push back!
I’ve already blogged extensively about ‘growing pains‘… remember that in growth, there’s always pressure and at times, a somewhat testing experience. Be prepared and understand the hurdles of growth. Remember the reward will be achieving your business’s growth vision, and worth the incidental discomfort!
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