Or, does the thought of change send your stomach lurching with fear? With all the evidence around us that there are no, “jobs for life” anymore why do so many people cling onto the safe, but not really secure, job they know, but don’t actually enjoy? These people see new opportunities as a threat to their equilibrium, as opposed to a delicious challenge.
The late Robin Williams is famous for, among many things, the film, The Dead Poets Society – and a fabulous quote from that is,
“Carpe Diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary.”
Is your life extraordinary, and if not, why not? Maybe you manage your own business and feel that you are doing just fine. It is all ticking over nicely and you are comfortable with how it is running. Just be careful that comfortableness doesn’t turn into complacency.
This quote by Andy Grove makes me smile
Success breeds complacency. Complacency breeds failure. Only the paranoid survive.
Now I am not advocating paranoia! However, complacency in business is dangerous; you take your eye off the ball and you miss new opportunities. Not only that; but your competition, which is far from complacent, can steal the march on you.
New opportunities come to those who are aware
Often we are forced into change; this was certainly true in my own life. However, even before the train crash I ran my own highly successful financial consulting business and in 6 years built it up to a £1.5 million turnover company. I can assure you, I did not achieve that by being complacent. It was a combination of inspiration, perspiration and a lot of ‘out of the box’ thinking.
So how to position yourself to be aware of new opportunities and welcome the challenge rather than be intimidated by change? Part of the process is mind set and how you view your world. Evolution occurs whether we embrace it or not. The development of new technologies is relentless and in some areas overwhelming, how on earth do you keep up with it all?
Your first rule should be; understand you will inevitably miss some new opportunities. This does not mean giving up before you start. It means being selective and ensuring that you are connected to the right people and places to spot a decent opportunity when it arises.
New opportunities come to those who are connected
Whatever business you are in, there are thought leaders and innovators in that field. Whether this be for you as an employee, searching for new opportunities as a career change, or for companies looking for new ways of working smart.
Use the technologies available, make them work for you. Track your competition via social media; what are they saying and doing? Subscribe to the industry leader’s blog/LinkedIn page/online magazine and see what is happening and what they are talking about. Add your competitors Facebook pages to your “pages to watch” and see how they connect with their audience.
Attend conferences and speeches by innovators; it keeps you up to date with developments and is great motivation when you are feeling the drudgery of a hard week’s work.
New opportunities require a lean responsive organisation
Learn from the tragedy of the Titanic. Iceberg spotted; too big to change course in time. Look at the structure of your business, and in your personal life, the structure of your days and weeks. Could you respond to new opportunities or is your work schedule so clogged with meetings and committee approvals you will literally miss the boat?
Nautical metaphors aside; how long does it take a decision to be made in your organisation? Hierarchical organisations with long chains of command will always lose out to a company with a flatter, swifter decision making structure.
Every now and then you need to rethink your approach, preferably before you start losing business to the competition. Often business only adapts when threatened, which is reactive, not proactive thinking.
Take a long hard look at your structures and your staff. Do you enable response to new opportunities or tie up your company in red tape? Sometimes this change in approach needs some radical rethink of how you see change; as a friend not an enemy.
New opportunities when pursued make you evaluate your way of working; your potential customers; how you respond to current customers; sometimes your whole brand and ethos. This is not to be feared but welcomed. Entrepreneurs are not just individuals; business can be entrepreneurial and embrace new opportunities with energy, excitement and ultimately profit from this.
Want some entrepreneurial inspiration? Enjoy this poem, yes that’s right, poem, from Richard Branson.
My favourite lines?
Challenge the status quo, disrupt the market and say YES!
And remember that innovation is an endless quest.