By Daniel Makoni, Managing Director of wCyber
“I believe that the most fulfilling moment is the one where you solve a problem that has a significant impact on a company and people.”
There is little doubt in anyone’s mind that the market today is challenging. Companies are looking for the competitive advantage, customers are trying to get more for less, and the pandemic continues to impact on growth, interaction and engagement. It’s a tough landscape, but it is one that business leaders can navigate strategically by taking the right steps in the right directions.
These are the times that define leadership, and can allow for entrepreneurs and executives to reshape their companies and the ways in which they do business. And these are the questions that you should be asking to help you refine your business and your approaches:
1. Is my product or service genuinely adding value to the customer?
This is the most important question. Is this work, this solution, this service actually solving a real problem? Is it relevant and necessary? A business that can answer this question clearly is defining its market and its target. Once you have a clear understanding of what needs to be done, the how gets much easier.
2. Do I have the right people in the right roles?
You need the right people doing the right job if you want to fulfil the needs of your customers. Customer service expectations only grow as the relationship grows and this is rapidly becoming a key differentiator, regardless of market. To serve your customers the quality they expect, the motivation of your people is key. Focus on building your internal relationships as much as your external ones.
3. How am I using the technology at my disposal?
With the right technology, you can either cut costs or increase revenue. With the right tools, you can take advantage of opportunities that may have previously slipped past, and you can add an edge to your efficiencies and productivity. There are many examples of companies taking tech to the next level – from Amazon using drones to a sole trader adopting a point-of-sale system that helps them better serve their customers. Getting the right tech and using it properly will give any business a boost.
4. Is the business model viable?
There isn’t much value in running a business that isn’t sustainable, and sustainable means financial and impact-based returns. Always check if the operations of your business are achieving what they set out to accomplish and have a finger on the pulse of your financial health. Ensure that financials, operations and systems are healthy to maintain a sustainable and successful business.
5. Should I pivot or stay the course?
This is, of course, the million Rand question, and one of the toughest decisions to make for a business. It needs to be based on both empirical and intuitive evidence and with an agile mindset. Agile is not just a concept, it is an understanding and merging of all considerations. The ability to constantly adapt the business is something that every leader should be able to do. Assess the market, stay abreast of the events taking place, and learn as many lessons as possible from the pandemic. Take lessons from those who succeeded – AirBnB introducing experience tours – and those who failed – companies that refused to go digital. And sometimes, just recognise that timing, planning, people and technology are good enough to ensure that your business can stay the course to success.