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Our thoughts on the latest developments impacting your business.

The evolution of a business

Thoughtful director
Business evolution, which way should I go?

Through the evolution of our business, we reached our second major milestone in 2014, our ten year anniversary! Now, looking back at our evolution, we’ve learnt many valuable lessons which can benefit all new service businesses.

The Evolution of a Business

Versatility

As the service element of your business evolves, you must be willing to adapt with the market and your client’s needs. This versatility and openness will make you invaluable to any new client in the months and years to come. But how?

Throughout the evolution of our business we’ve been asked to tackle a very broad range of client challenges. These clients have included manufacturers, retailers, fellow consulting clients, trade associations and amongst them, many Royal Warrant holding companies. We’ve become well-versed in issues surrounding people in the workforce (human capital), as well as what motivates them; Also of issues relating to the cost, adoption and disruption of technology,; And of operational challenges across their current processes. These have all been areas which have helped us evolve further.

Our versatility was seen by our clients as a willingness to deliver support for their cause, a ‘can do attitude’ that would allow them to focus on different issues within their own companies. It’s that attitude and track record that’s gained us respect from our clients, and in-turn opened new doors. It’s come from not only delivering on a client’s brief, but surpassing it. Whilst this should be obvious to some, so few companies do, in fact most will do the bare minimum to just about meet the clients demands. Whilst this may work once established, it will cause concern amongst new clients who expect to be truly impressed. Failure here will leave the door ajar for new challenges.

Transformation

Through our willingness to surpass what was expected of us, within two short years we’d already transformed our offer. We had carefully introduced new services that would allow us to migrate towards new and more prosperous areas, namely strategic development and research services. We expanded our understanding of new techniques through a range of additional training and a change to our branding. This subtle change would allow us to fully integrate new features within our core service provision. Additionally, they would help us remain of value to our existing clients, whilst creating the opportunity to secure new ones. By changing our offer, we learnt to adapt and keep our existing relationships ‘fresh’ and valued, evolving rather than waiting for a market to become saturated and stagnate.

We we’re fashioned by what we learn around us. The business model developed by Michael Porter and referred to as ‘Porters Five Forces‘ taught us that businesses are always impacted by external issues, from both known and unknown competition. These impacts can take many forms, either from improvements to the current offer, or from new methodologies that render others no longer viable. How you remain relevant to the markets you serve can be a challenge and you should be clear when to transform and when to walk away.

Knowing when to walk away

I’ve heard several business owners recount how they’ve resisted such opportunities to adapt because they’ve perceived any adaptations to their service as being weak or distracting. Such a stance can so easily become your downfall though, particularly in those early formative years. Even if you initially feel the request to adopt your offer, to meet the buyers immediate need is unappealing, you can still use it to illustrate a willingness to negotiate and an openness for future approaches in the months ahead. So take some time to consider what it is truly relevant and how it might fit or expand your appeal.

Remember to review that initial research that you conducted which provided you with sufficient confidence to formulate your business in the first place. Re-evaluate this research when considering adaptations and decide through all the information you now have to hand, whether this will dilute your customer’s understanding and detract from your offer. If it does, then of course the decision to walk away is merited.

Seek the views of others, those you trust within your own business and those on the outside, family friends, advisors, non-executive directors. Being open-minded before reaching a decision will serve you well as you progress. It’s a quality that the most effective directors possess.

If we can help further with anything in this article, or by offering some advice, please ask. You can schedule some time to speak here.

 

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