The times they are a-changing

Laptop on desk, working from homeOur lives will never be the same again.

Instead it is beholden upon us to make them better, to make everyone a stakeholder, to stop basing ‘value’ on the commercialization of the depleting resources, to ensure the planet is a safe, welcoming environment for future generations.

So how do we all emerge from our isolation with stronger, more resilient and engaged businesses?

I think there are some key aspects that we all need to take on board now.

  1. No going back

The business you had before Covid-19 and lock-down will need to change to different ways we will all behave. Ask yourself how you will approach adapting your offer now.

  1. Unpack all your intellectual assets

By looking closely at your past commercial relationships, your knowledge base, your materials/supplier chain, think through how fundamentally different these worlds will be. Are there ways you can shift your offer to show them the way? These may also reveal new and varied income streams that you hadn’t identified before.

  1. Link your local/regional opportunity to global capability

By shortening supply chains and adapting to a local/regional model, we can ensure better supply security. However this does not mean we need to ‘batten down the national hatches’ – we need to harness global capability, particularly of the fast-growing freelance and small business community, many of whom are stepping outside the corporate world for the first time to add their dynamism to the digital marketplace. We have seen amazing international collaboration during the last few weeks – let’s retain that at all levels. Big and small.

  1. Put society at the heart of the new

Change your company focus from ‘shareholder’ to ‘stakeholder’ to put all your relationships at the heart of your business, developing a long-term perspective. Your community, your locale, your staff, their families, your suppliers need to be core to your business development now. Not next year or in ten years’ time. If Black Rock, one of the world’s largest investment managers has put stakeholders and sustainability as the focus of its business, you can too. And if this means you need to pivot to build a stronger societal purpose – then do so inventively.

  1. Sustainability – your new measure alongside profitability

Just as every business needs to consider its profitability – we all now need to put sustainability at the heart of our business too. Future investors, potential staff and suppliers will all look to see how we stack up. And interestingly both sustainability and profitability can be measured in a similar way. So why wait? Get ahead of the curve.

Although some of these ideas seem huge and potentially exhausting, plan what you can do for your business now. Remember that old adage ‘how do you eat an elephant?’. The answer, of course, is ‘one bite at a time’, so do what you can each day to take yourself a step or two further along the road, ensuring your business emerges in a new exciting place.

Erica Wolfe MurrayAbout the author

Erica Wolfe-Murray works across the creative, cultural and tech sector helping companies to innovate through imaginative use of their intellectual assets/IP.  Referred to by as ‘a leading innovation and business expert’, she is the author of ‘Simple Tips, Smart Ideas : Build a Bigger, Better Business’, finalist in the Business Book Awards 2020. It’s full of easy-to-use advice on innovative ways to grow your business and is available from Foyles, Amazon and all other good bookshops.

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