If you are a small business owner or entrepreneur who operates in quickly fluctuating markets, you need to learn how to adapt with new market changes. Ian Linton is a UK based marketing and business consultant who advised that six basic qualities are needed if you want to be successful while operating in these changing markets: agility, speed, leadership, flexibility, innovation and discernment. According to Mr. Linton, Ariba, Inc. provides business management solutions and has stated that organizations operating in changing markets “must do more with less—and do it faster than ever before…this requires new strategies, solutions and approaches.” This article will discuss Mr. Linton’s expert advice on ways to adapt while operating in changing markets.
Six Steps on How to Adapt in Changing Markets
According to Mr. Linton and his twenty years’ experience in the business world, he has advised business owners and entrepreneurs on six basic steps to adapt to changing markets. Those steps are outlined and discussed below.
1. Develop Market Awareness Dexterity
One major factor in succeeding while operating in changing markets is to continually develop your market awareness dexterity. Become agile and able to adapt to changing situations. Mr. Linton explained about the business management company, SAP and how they advise companies on ways to become more agile and adaptive. You can read more about the strategies in their white paper, Responding Quickly to Changing Markets. According to SAP, business owners and entrepreneurs who want to succeed in these changing markets should have the following agile characteristics.
- Visibility – management learns how to anticipate changes in the markets
- Speed – regarding development and delivery of innovative services or products
- Flexibility – management knows how to quickly adjust in response to market changes
- Scalability – management understands how to organize people and resources
2. Cultivate Proficient Analysis Skills
Every business owner or entrepreneur should have a business and marketing strategy in place. If you want to become successful while operating in changing markets, you need to learn how to cultivate proficient analysis skills. Learn how to alter your strategy based upon discernment of current market trends. According to Mr. Linton, it is vital that you institute a procedure which enables you to “monitor changes in the market and identify trends that might impact the organization.” In this step, you will learn how to understand the market analysis reports and forecasting for your specific market. Mr. Linton also suggested that you work closely with your sales and customer service teams to ascertain any “significant changes in customer requirements” that they see.
3. Learn to Lead By Example
A strong leader is someone who knows where to go and exudes confidence as he or she leads everyone else by example. As a business owner or entrepreneur seeking to operate in changing markets, this third step is just as important as all the rest. Mr. Linton referred to a piece published through Harvard Business Publishing which addressed how “strong leadership is essential to market adaption.” Basically, if a business owner or entrepreneur is not utilizing the proper tools to ascertain the changing markets or is not aligning with the right corporate strategy, he or she won’t be able to adapt as quickly to those changes. When he or she cannot adapt as quickly—motivating employees and team members will become even more difficult to accomplish.
4. Cultivate Flexibility in Your Organization
A smart leader knows that flexibility is vital to growth in the company or organization. Such a leader will learn how to cultivate that flexibility personally as well as in the employees and the procedure for managing such people. According to Mr. Linton, “market change may require people with different skills or more people with the same skills.” The point is to be flexible, think outside the box and be open to whatever changes need to be made. Mr. Linton advised that is when management may need to re-evaluate their recruitment process and consider hiring “high-caliber staff to meet short or medium term needs.”
5. Advance with Changing Technology
Every day there is more advancement made in technology. The business owner or entrepreneur, who does not learn how to advance along with that changing technology, will be hard-pressed to operate and succeed within changing markets. Mr. Linton suggested that management begin to “utilize cloud computing to scale information technology resources.” In order to keep up with the changing markets, that could require increased computational resources to meet that demand. The reason that Mr. Linton suggested the utilization of cloud computing is that it can help an organization meet the demand without that initial investment of their own additional massive servers and manpower. Mr. Linton advised that using cloud computing “provides immediate access to essential resources and reduces time to market for new business opportunities.”
6. Align with Trusted Partners
This final step is where business owners and entrepreneurs are again thinking outside the box to align themselves with trusted partners. In ascertaining the needs of changing markets, it is possible that these individuals may not yet have the necessary resources to meet such new market demands. According to Mr. Linton, this is where networking and teamwork come into play. Business owners and entrepreneurs learn to network with other business partners who provide the necessary products, services or technology that they need. Successful individuals learn how to align themselves with the right people to form symbiotic professional and business relationships. Mr. Linton’s theory is that you need to “identify each partner’s strengths and set up contingency plans to identify the fastest route to market through collaboration.”
Adapting to new market changes takes a concerted effort on the part of the business owner or entrepreneur and the employees or team members. As addressed in this article, Mr. Linton’s six tips on adapting to such market changes are easy to follow and implement in your own business or professional organization.