Does your business have the skills it needs for sustained growth in a digital marketplace? What are those skills? Why are they critical to your business right now?
Let's just say that your business, like most businesses, has an average or moderate level of success. You're OK with that. You profited from it. But you have two concerns: (1) is my business vulnerable?, (2) is my business sustainable? To address vulnerability you have to defend it from competitive or economic assaults. Hiring, budgeting and sales are very important practices in this regard. But, just as offense is the best defense, if you're like most business people, you know that sustaining your business means that it needs to grow. What you might not know....to achieve growth you need to have and use sustainable skills, innovation skills, and technology skills.
You're a business person because it's in your DNA to build on what you've accomplished, rather than sit on your laurels. But, on the other side of that equation, your attention may be pulled away because you need to protect your business through defensive methods. Pulling in your oars is not what we mean by sustainability skills. The first sustainability skill is your business plan. We're not discussing the dust-collecting plan you might have created when you first launched your business. We're talking about your up-to-date plan for the here and now and foreseeable future. Do you have a plan that lays out a road map for your business? Does it leverage your current success toward sustained growth that takes your business to the next level? Are you following it? There's more to sustainability skills than a plan, however. You also need the skills to execute it. Does your business have these skills?
Next, to grow your business you also need innovation skills. We don't mean innovation as an invention. You don't need to be an inventor to practice Innovation skills. These are skills you use to innovate the way you do business: how your business communicates, what you offer, your brand image, and so on. Do you use innovation skills to transform your business — on a regular basis — into a more effective and more valuable enterprise?
Thirdly, technology skills are required to compete in today's fast moving, volatile marketplace. Not every organization needs to have these skills in-house, and many would be better off without internal IT departments. It is a much smarter investment today to acquire technology experts on the outside with skills you need for today. Many businesses have paid or are still paying the steep price of legacy systems — old phone systems, old PCs, old software, old databases — and are stuck in costly operations. Simply said, they have technology, but they lack technology skills to grow their business. The result is a huge hole in your business pocket. Do you have the technology skills to close that hole quickly and reallocate your costs to more productive activities of your business, using sustainability and innovation skills?
We applaud business leaders and organizations who know how to balance vulnerability issues and sustained growth goals. Kudos to those of you who are motivated to sell and provide great services and products. But beyond running a tight ship and motivating your team, your business must have the 3 skills for growth to achieve sustainable growth now and in the foreseeable future. Do you need help in acquiring these skills?