Technology is ever-changing and evolving. Robots are coming to take your job and there is also a lot of pressure on business owners and entrepreneurs to be innovative. Innovation is presumed to be about new things, but it is about doing the same things in more efficient ways. In the last 20 years, we have seen rapid change in the business landscape. Especially with the adoption of technology, changing how businesses run and operate. Businesses need to evolve to protect themselves. According to Wikipedia, innovation is the practical implementation of ideas that result in the introduction of new goods or services or modifications in current offerings. Innovations should be adopted in perspective if businesses intend to play long-term.
Understanding your business environment
Understanding the environment in which your business operates is essential for success. Three models of the business environment affect growth and mode of operations – internal, external, and far external. Technology innovation is a far external factor. This means that it’s beyond our control. These innovations may be beneficial to your business or be threats. Technology does not operate in isolation but has a direct influence on how businesses operate. To compete successfully, business owners and entrepreneurs must continuously study the environment and adapt their businesses accordingly. New equipment and software that improve productivity and reduce costs can be a company’s most valuable assets. Having a clear view of your business environment will ensure the right decision for the business is made. This enhances future planning and the evolution of the business.
It also enables the identification of opportunities and getting the first mover advantage. For example, There were a lot of places to buy coffee before the establishment of Starbucks. However, Starbucks was able to establish a strong brand equity, making Starbucks the go-to place when you’re not home or at the office. They took advantage of their customers need for coffee. Understanding the business environment provides many opportunities for entrepreneurs to improve their performance. The firms which can scan these opportunities at an early stage get ahead.
Also, potential threats posed by technology innovation could be identified and leveraged as stepping stones. Environment understanding helps an enterprise to recognize qualitative information in advance, which can be an edge ahead of likely challenges.
Businesses need resources like raw materials, tools, equipment, finance, labor, etc. to perform business activities. These resources are known as inputs. The business environment provides these inputs to the business firms for carrying out their activities.
Moreso, The business environment is very dynamic. with changes like new technologies, fragmented markets, more demanding customers, heavy global competition, and so on. Entrepreneurs need to understand the environment and take on courses of action at the right time. It helps management become more sensitive to the ever-changing needs of customers. As a result, they can respond to such changes effectively.
Experimentation and data
We live in a data-rich world, An important part of innovation is an experiment. Vision and foresight are indispensable attributes of entrepreneurs. To stay ahead it is expedient to focus on and leverage this flood of information. Big data can provide information on trends in technology innovation and clues to what is to come. Many entrepreneurs especially small and medium-scale businesses lack enough data to inform their decisions. So, they often rely on experience or intuition. But truly innovative ideas—that is, those that reshape industries go against the grain of executive experience and conventional wisdom.
Although the process of experimentation seems plain, it is surprisingly hard in practice. This is owing to myriad organizational and technical challenges. Companies should conduct experiments to answer specific questions about proposed management actions and determine if a particular innovation is a good fit. Entrepreneurs must first figure out exactly what they want to learn. This should be done in comparison with company goals and objectives. Only then can they decide if testing is the best approach and, if it is, the scope of the experiment. Businesses and customers are often hesitant to change working models. This can deter companies from implementing technology innovation or even tweaking their model of operation.
This is where running an experiment could help, too. In 2018, Uber tested out a new service called Express Pool, a cheaper alternative to their UberPool. “Uber says these Express Pool trips will be up to 50 percent cheaper than Uber Pool and 70 percent cheaper than Uber X,” reported Engadget.
Flexibility in mode of operations
Sometimes referred to as business agility, business flexibility is the ability of a company or business to adapt to changing circumstances and remain profitable. A business that expects changes in the ‘norm’ and strategically alters its model has a greater possibility of staying long term. For this reason, measurement of flexibility within the company operation is often considered key to assessing the strength of the business. Hence, arriving at an accurate understanding of the potential for business endurance. Entrepreneurs should make it a point to always stay aware of growing changes in their ecosystem. This would cut the possibility of an abrupt interruption.
Humans are creatures of evolution. Times are strange and much of the business community was caught off guard by the side effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing economic turmoil. Keeping your doors open is the goal of the present and with the right tools, the odds are always favorable. But, designing businesses to be more flexible will allow them to be better prepared for unknown events, positive and negative, going forward. We all must adapt using the same vision and leadership skills that made the organization successful.
According to Barron’s, services like DoorDash, GrubHub and Uber Eats gained customers during the pandemic by offering home deliveries. They survived by adapting to the times with their mode of operation. Other restaurants got creative by offering family meal packages, “take-home kits,” and other specials.
Our ability as a nation to maintain and build wealth depends in large part on the speed and effectiveness with which we use technology. Innovations allow us to invent and adopt more efficient facilities and resources to improve productivity and profitability. Thereby Increasing cash flow, employee satisfaction, and increased productivity.