Destroy your own business. Don't wait for Corona !
Corona, floods, wars, civil unrest, bank collapse - it's just one bad news after another. Maybe, 2020 was “The Perfect Storm”. Any one of these calamities is enough to shake the foundations of any business, but together, they have put thousands of businesses at risk.
If you are a traditional business, this would be a harrowing time for you. Even before this - margins were thinning, people prefer buying online, there is competition not only from within the country but even outside, costs of everything is going up, employees can leave you at the drop of a hat etc.
However, are these the symptoms or the disease ? Who is the real enemy here ? I feel that none of these events are a real threat in themselves, the only threat is the Speed of Change. For decades we have seen businesses setup once, and continue to flourish for decades altogether. Nowadays, this seems to be a rare phenomenon. Even if the business does survive it may not resemble what it looked like 5 years ago. Take a look at GE, IBM, Nokia for an example.
Technology has become a major driver of change. All the new technologies such as Cloud, IOT, Big Data, 5G, AI, Robotics, Machine Learning etc. are causing major disruption in all business domains. These Technologies are allowing us to work in very different ways and at a different scale. Many newer companies such as Flipkart, Oyo, Ola, Byju’s have achieved valuations in a couple of years that their brick and mortar counterparts couldn’t do even after decades in the business. Welcome to the - “The Age of Ideas”. We are living in times where the value of ideas and innovation is more than any other resource. If you have an amazing idea and the ability to execute the same, people with resources will chase you.
Another issue is that many businesses have forgotten that the real purpose of any business is to solve a problem. The question is - “Is the problem that your business solves worth solving anymore?” or “Can you solve it better in today’s scenario using the tools and technology available to you ?”. Take Amazon for instance, Jeff Bezos solved the age old problem of shopping by giving customers what they wanted - “Larger Discounts”, “More Choice” & “Faster Deliveries”.
The question you must ask yourself is that - “Is your business solving a real issue or is someone else doing it better that you?”. A lot of businesses worry about growth, can you really achieve growth or even survive if you are delivering stuff that people don’t want?
Maybe it's time to destroy and reinvent your business. Find a purpose that you identify with. Gone are the days where the only purpose of business was to make money. Take your skills, your experience - it's valuable, it's unique, the question is how to put it to good use. Your problem is not - “How to make more money for yourself ?”, but, “How to help others achieve what they want?. Using the latest technology and tools available to you can you reinvent your business to solve a problem in a way that no one has thought of before? The more difficult the problem, more unique the solution, more the number of people you can help - more the money you will make.
It’s easier to deal with change when you are focussed on solving your customer’s problem instead of your own. Focus on finding new ways, use new tools and technology, adapt to new and different requirements. Change the way you think about your business and this threat of constant “Change” will no longer be a problem for you.