The idea of running a business in a world where technology is developing at a breakneck speed and unprecedented events happen daily can be daunting. With new challenges cropping ever more often, it’s imperative that businesses and business leaders focus on adaptability.
Building a business that’s able to survive – and thrive – in times of constant change, requires you to be able to anticipate, understand, and respond to both expected and unexpected turns of events. Figuring out how to do this, though, can be difficult.
To help you build an agile business and develop future-focused leadership techniques, we’ve developed this guide to running a business in times of constant change. We’ll cover everything from what being adaptable really means to how to keep your business on track in the face of challenges.
The Importance of Adaptability
Before we delve into why it’s important, we need to have an understanding of what exactly it means to be adaptable.
Simply put, adaptability is all about the ease with which you can adjust to unforeseen circumstances. Adaptable people and businesses are open to change, have a growth mindset, and are flexible and resilient. They’re quickly able to learn and apply new skills or techniques that help them to navigate shifts in their environment.
In a recent survey conducted by the Harvard Business Review, 93% of executives surveyed in North America said that they are dealing with significant levels of volatility in their industries. What’s more, 85% of those executives noted that these market forces drive the need for a more agile business culture.
Considering all of this, it’s easy to see why adaptability is a key characteristic for any modern enterprise. Change is constant and if you want your business to go from strength to strength, it needs to have the ability to respond to it in a meaningful way.
Adaptability In Action
Let’s take a look at a practical example to get a better understanding of why this type of growth mindset is important for businesses.
When you wanted to watch a movie at home in the ’90s, you’d head down to your local video rental store, pick out a title, pay the rental fee, and then head back to your house and load the cassette or disk into your VHS or DVD player to start the screening.
Video rental stores were ubiquitous. Most suburbs had one, if not more, outlets where film fanatics could hire everything from the latest releases to silver screen classics.
Around 2007, as more and more homes were being fitted with high-speed internet connections, a small subscription-based DVD rental service named Netflix spotted an opportunity. The company believed that online programming would be the next big thing in home entertainment.
With this in mind, the company set about creating a system where users could stream content directly to their TVs and laptops. Large video rental chains didn’t think that Netflix’s strategy would work and continued doing business as they always had, focusing on renting physical copies of movies from brick-and-mortar stores.
Today, millions of homes in the United States and across the world have a Netflix subscription, but you’d be hard pressed to find a video rental store. So, what was the key differentiator between Netflix and its traditional video rental counterparts? Adaptability.
Anticipating potential disruptions in the video rental industry and adapting the operating model to future-proof the business meant that Netflix was able to thrive. Once-giant chains like Blockbuster, on the other hand, failed to survive.
Anticipating and Responding to Change
The key to running a business in times of constant change is to prepare for that change before it happens rather than when it happens. To do this, you need to be able to anticipate shifts and prepare for these eventualities.
Keeping an eye on trends both in- and outside of your industry is an extremely useful tactic for identifying possible threats or opportunities. Understanding how these trends might affect your business is another.
There are a variety of factors that can trigger change in a business. Let’s take a look at some of the most common ones.
Regardless of your industry or the size of your enterprise, economic fluctuations will have an effect on how you do business. Keeping an eye on the market and planning for how you might carry on operations when the economy rapidly contracts (like reducing costs) or grows (think expanding your footprint) are essential here.
Societal values and cultural norms are constantly evolving. In this instance, you’ll want to stay in touch with what people value as well as the ways that the culture is shifting (for example, championing more inclusive business and social environments). This will ensure that you’re able to not only cater for your target market, but also your employees and other stakeholders.
There have been rapid advancements in technology over the past few decades. And there’s no sign that these developments will slow in the future. To ensure that your business is able to adapt, you need to identify how the technology that underpins your industry might change as well as the challenges and opportunities this might present.
The economy, prevailing culture, and technology affect every facet of modern life. As a result, shifts in these areas have a domino effect on the way people live. Consider how changes in other areas could influence your customers’ and employees’ lives. This will help you to better cater to their potential needs.
Staying Ahead of the Curve
Although adaptability revolves around responding to unforeseen circumstances, it doesn’t mean that you can’t prepare for this type of change. There are a few easy-to-implement tactics you can use to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to dealing with change in your business.
Establish a Vision and Set Goals
Knowing what success looks like for your business and creating a roadmap to help you achieve that vision is a great way to future-proof your business.
Having clear goals and tracking your achievements enables you to figure out whether your strategies are working. A broad business vision is also a useful tool for guiding your decisions when you need to adjust those goals and take measured actions during times of change.
Review and Develop Your Internal Capabilities
Developing the capacity to manage challenges when they present themselves will help to ensure that your business operates smoothly during difficult times.
This starts out with understanding your business’s strengths and weaknesses. Knowing the areas where you’re doing well and those where you can improve gives you the ability to plan how you can develop your internal capabilities.
Create a Culture of Continuous Learning
While there may be instances where you’re spot on with your forecasts, it’s unlikely that you’ll foresee every possible scenario that could arise.
Having a team that’s committed to continuous learning is a boon in the moments when your predictions don’t pan out quite the way you’d expected. Creating a space where people are encouraged to grow and develop will enhance their ability to manage and work through change.
The Benefits of Working with Pay.com as Your Payment Service Provider
If you want to ensure that your business is able to operate smoothly throughout times of constant change, consider working with Pay.com as your payment service provider.
Our flat-rate fee ensures that you only pay for completed transactions, and the easy-to-use Pay Dashboard lets you track every cent you earn. This gives you full control over your payments, enabling you to forecast future sales and adapt your business plans accordingly.
The flexibility doesn’t stop there, either. With Pay.com, you can accept a wide variety of payment methods from across the globe. Whether your customers prefer to pay by debit or credit card, ewallet, ACH transfers, or other methods, you can add these options to your secure, customizable checkout page in just a few clicks.
To help you stay at the top of your game through the good and tough times, our platform offers no-code solutions as well as APIs for developers. So you can do everything from setting up your payment infrastructure to customizing your checkout page yourself, or employ a developer to do it for you.
What’s more, there’s no need to worry about advances by cybercriminals when you use Pay.com. Our platform is PCI DSS Level 1 compliant to give you the peace of mind that your customers’ payments are safe and secure.
The Bottom Line: Adaptable Businesses Thrive
Running a business during times of constant change can be challenging. However, taking note of trends and developing a future-focused strategy while creating a culture of continuous learning go a long way to helping you prepare for uncertainty.
Keeping your finger on the pulse when it comes to economic, social, and technological developments will help you to anticipate change and build an adaptable enterprise.
With Pay.com, you can rest assured that your payment technology is flexible enough to meet your business’s changing needs. Whether you need the capability to accept alternative payment methods via your checkout page or pop your customers a Pay Link to send them to a personalized checkout page, we’ve got you covered.