By Nick Bell, Group CEO of Decision Inc.
The business-to-business (B2B) organisation has evolved significantly in recent years. Much of this has been driven by changes in the product needs of customers, their evolving relationships with suppliers, and the technology itself. While the rate of innovation in the business-to-consumer (B2C) space has traditionally been faster than in B2B, this is changing as technology introduces new capabilities into this segment.
As markets have grown, we have seen the emergence of new vendors and partners that have challenged the traditional incumbents that defined B2B services in the past. New providers are innovating and working faster to show value to customers.
A shift is also taking place in the organisational design. Modern B2B organisations are more collaborative and their people more connected than ever. This has seen the traditional hierarchical structures changing with companies moving faster to deliver on a better customer experience. There is a far greater expectation on the B2B business to be more agile and deliver a dynamic proposition than before.
Get up and go
Technology has had a big impact on the ability to get a business started. In many industries the capital barrier has been removed as the system scale and investment needed to deliver a proposition has reduced dramatically. It is now possible to compete and deliver better value than the incumbents. This means that the cost to run a business can scale along with its growth.
Further contributing to this more business-friendly environment is how digital sales channels have made it easier to access customers. There are now more mediums to connect and share relevance. In many instances, customers are often looking for partners that can bring something new and innovative to their business, meaning they are open to explore new opportunities.
Those starting B2B organisations should not be afraid of going after clients that they would consider too large for them to service. Combining passion and energy with technology innovation provide startups with more flexibility to scale and the ability to take on the incumbents. However, these new companies must focus early on finding great talent and giving them opportunities to take ownership of areas of the business. The business owners should not be afraid to delegate more so that they can help create the next future wave.
Tips for growth
Here are five tips worth considering when getting a new business off the ground based on my experience in helping lead Decision Inc. into a world-leading organisation:
- You are the only one that is going to make this happen. You must be willing to be the hardest working and most committed person in the business.
- Be on the lookout for talented people that you believe can complement you and help grow the business.
- Stay close to your clients and make sure you understand how your product or service helps them.
- Pay attention to your competitors and their offerings. Often, the first opportunity you need to get in the door is based on one of their weak areas.
- Be aware of how your market is going to change in the future. Ask yourself how long your product or service has a life until you risk being disrupted.
Fundamentally, the best advice I can give is to work hard, remain committed and passionate, and deliver value to your customers. In a world driven by innovation, the customer experience will be one of the most significant keys to success.