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Make your business sustainable

So, let’s get chatting about what plans you have to install a wind farm in your garden, and while we’re at it, I think turfing your roof must be added to the top of your priority list. Just kidding! As much as I wholeheartedly agree with anything that can help this planet and the beauty that lives on it, I’m not referring to that type of sustainability.

One of the things I know you know, but we need to remember more, is that sustainability is one of the most important things you can concentrate on. Before it was hijacked by ‘well meaning do gooders’ it simply means ‘can keep going’.

Sustainability refers to the halo around your business. It is not one person’s role, or a departements, but as founders – the buck does stops with you. Building strong foundations, allowing time to innovate and taking time out to just even ponder ‘how do we keep going’ weekly, by very nature, will help you become more sustainable. Sustainability has also probably been your biggest sleep stealer! So let’s start to think about the areas that you could work through:

Belief

One can change everything about your business other than its core beliefs. Building business on your beliefs is about what the clever people call, value creation.

The definition of this word is – “the primary aim of any business entity”. Creating value for customers helps sell products and services, while creating value for shareholders, in the form of increases in stock price, insures the future availability of investment capital to fund operations.

Your business might rest on what your beliefs are, and that is totally fine, as long as they are not too specific, localise your business or too closely defined by a time period. It has to be consistent with what you, as a company are going to do, to drive value.

Change

When you change and act fast, you can be the biggest, boldest and brightest version of yourself. You can not stand still and refuse to change and adapt to the situation around you. If you do, you are closer to extinction, than you think. Just look at the following examples, to help understand, that change is a very good thing!

  • Kodak. For nearly a century, no company commercialised the camera as successfully as Kodak, whose breakthroughs included the Brownie camera in 1900, Kodachrome color film, the handheld movie camera, and the easy-load Instamatic camera. But Kodak’s story went dark with the invention of digital photography and all the printers, software, file sharing, and third-party apps that Kodak has mostly missed out on. Since the late 1980s, Kodak has tried to expand into pharmaceuticals, memory chips, healthcare imaging, document management, and many other fields, but the magic has never returned.
  • Blockbuster. This video-rental chain survived the transition from VHS to DVD just fine, but then failed to adapt to the next big change. Blockbuster remained flat-footed when Netflix started sending videos through the mail, cable and phone companies started offering video-on-demand. Blockbuster’s conventional retail outlets seem hopelessly outdated. 



Focus

Even though you are being fast, and reacting to change – the key in sustainability is ‘focus on the focus’. You are only going to be remembered for one thing, so what is that. If you’ve not taken time to think about this – do. If you think about the companies you love, they deliver one thing really well. Think of the things you love the most in your home – more than likely hours have gone into creating it. That means it’s hard for others to copy and it gives you, as a customer, a connection with that item. You are looking to connect. So focus on it.



Focus Print by Marc Johns

And don’t focus!

Did I say focus?! Well it’s true you have to focus on what you deliver and deliver it better than anyone, but alongside this, you need to be all over the future. Your core stays the same, but you need to keep with the times and look like you’re reinventing yourself, or actually do exactly that if you have to. It’s not changing your belief, focus or DNA, but it’s all about reimagining how you do it.

So sustainability, is basically a plan of how you are going to keep going. It’s such a good idea to carve time out of your diary, where you think about this weekly. Call it something that motivates you, make it simple for yourself. Break it down and take a mental tour of your business and see what is fine, what needs fixing and what’s utterly broken and needs throwing away. Have the eyes at the back of your head wide open, and don’t let your lack of looking up bite you on the bum.


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