Innovate for your work, yourself and your team.
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If everything feels off-kilter in your life and business, just know that you aren’t alone. Last year was not easy and left many businesses desperate to stay afloat. Many simply focused on survival mode and tried to pivot to ensure their success. Even if you’ve had time to get used to the changes you made, it can still feel a bit off. As we move forward, it’s worth considering — is your “new normal” going to sustain you or is it time to reorient for a long term vision?
This requires a degree of objectivity and clarity in addressing your business and its upcoming opportunities and challenges. The following tips will help you and your team to get ready for the future, aligning your vision and ensuring that you’re on a straightforward path to success.
1. Consider how you can innovate to serve your customers.
Your customer’s needs and behaviors have changed. Can you meet them on this new terrain? Consider tweaking your products and services to fit their changing priorities. Remember that pretty much everyone had to shift some priorities since the pandemic. This re-innovation process is detailed in the book Sharper Image Success by Richard Thalheimer, CEO of The Sharper Image. His business has brought in revenues of $750 million and much of this is due to his customer obsession and his knack for scaling a business’ profits.
“Your product is your direct line of connection to your customer,” Thalheimer explained. “It’s all about sparking that excitement from your customer, which inevitably means you’ll have to adapt as they begin to change. Look for the key indicators of unhappiness or boredom with your product, and never stop asking for feedback and reiterating on your creation.” Consider pushing out a survey or taking the extra time to talk with your customer about what they think you could do better or differently. Staying relevant and top of mind requires this due-diligence.
2. Use this period to reconnect with what you want to be doing in your business.
Sometimes, we value profit over purpose, and it can become challenging to get back onto the passion that encouraged us to start our businesses in the first place. It’s easy to do. But as long as you’re pivoting, think about what you want your legacy to be and what type of work will be most fulfilling for you moving forward. Taylor Rochestie, author of the Wall Street Journal bestselling book, 20/20 Vision, says this begins by shifting how you view the world. “By putting on a positive perspective and lens by which you view the world, you’re more in sync with what your soul really wants from your life and your business,” Rochestie noted.
“Begin by first seeking to find joy in the work that you’re currently doing. This will weed out anything in your work that isn’t aligned, while also making sure you’re as positive as you can be.” From there, Rochestie says it’s simply a matter of determining what is still within authentic alignment for you — and what isn’t. And since you’re changing how you do things anyway, it’s worth a change of pace for your happiness within your business. Clients and customers can sense if you’re really doing what’s aligned with your soul’s truth.
Related: It’s Time to Disrupt Yourself
3. Recalibrate your business systems and team dynamic.
Now that you’ve considered your customers and your own inner calling, it’s critical to check in on your team and the processes that have sustained your business. With recent challenges, some team members may not have the same level of passion they did before, whereas some may be more passionate than ever. It’s worth having honest discussions with your top teammates about their opinions on the state of the business and if they’re feeling fulfilled at work.
Kristen S. David is a seven-figure business owner who specializes in helping business owners build systems around their businesses and boost team morale and culture. She discusses these concepts at length in her book Uplevel Your Business, Uplevel Your Life: 4 Pillars of Successful Business Management.
“Many build out a team, stick to a process, and never change it because they’re surviving on how it’s been,” David explained. “However, there are ways to thrive, which means your employees are happy and your processes are smooth sailing, freeing up time and generating more profit.” Much of this comes down to training employees within the culture, which may mean you need to hit the reset button in your company culture. Host a two-day virtual retreat to get everyone on the same page with values and priorities. Spend 1:1 time with employees to ideate on new systems and processes to make everyone’s lives easier.
Think of a refresh on each of these vital components of your business as a “spring cleaning.” While many businesses have been called to do this work because of the nature of the necessary pivot, these reevaluations will continue to be important in the months and years ahead. Never stop improving your innovations for the customer, your personal connection to your work, and the processes for your team. This is the secret to staying forever objectively oriented in your business’s vision.