Adapt to Survive. Adapt to Succeed!

Over the weekend, I was reflecting upon how things have changed and disrupted business, and life as we knew it. Buzz words were thrown around, probably more so than for anything else except to give reason to necessary changes; the same changes that were needed to be made in order to adapt to a changing business world.

Ultimately, not adapting was reason for error, and for failure. But to some, it was “okay” because there was [false] justification – the pandemic. At other times, false justification includes a plethora of reasons, well, excuses. Hey, I’ve found myself falling into that trap at times, especially when others get in your ear as a way of justifying their own actions or inactions. Of course, some are just flat-out negative.

Definition of “adapt” – become adjusted to new conditions.

While large numbers of businesses have failed, many entrepreneurs responded to the challenges by adapting, innovating and creating to not only survive but also to thrive. Failure was not an option in their minds. So, why were they able to face the challenges head-on and succeed with their plans when others failed?

I believe the reason is quite simple. First, and possibly foremost, they remained positive and made sure their positivity was felt by their teams, and also their vendors & suppliers and all stakeholders within and around the organization. They made certain to ensure everyone was onboard for rough waters ahead, albeit with confidence being instilled by their leader.

Further, they succeeded because they buckled down on business fundamentals – customer experience, employee experience, and culture. They also tightened up on spending, watching pennies but not to the point of stepping over a dollar to pick up a penny. They were proactive in planning ahead, taking the time to understand and realize trends, affording them the time to negotiate, source elsewhere or to be creative.

They thought outside the box, acted swiftly and decisively, remained open-minded to possibilities and ultimately, not only kept afloat but were able to capitalize on opportunities. At times, they pivoted and created a new box, either as a new direction or as a complementing opportunity.

Essentially, they adapted to the times!

A quote by management guru, Peter Drucker comes to mind:

“The entrepreneur always searches for change, responds to it, and exploits it as an opportunity.”

If your business is still chugging along, congratulations are in order as you’ve survived to this point. However, just surviving is not what entrepreneurs work for, right?

With economic uncertainty and a new set of challenges ahead, it’s important, if not vital to be proactive in your actions. Below are 5 tips to help you adapt:

  1. Keep an eye out for changes and be alerted to shifts in market direction whether consumer or supplier centric. Be proactive in thinking about the ‘what ifs’ so that you’re ready to turn on a dime, as necessary.
  2. Accept the idea of change. Embrace change by being ready to act accordingly in a swift, decisive manner. If prepared to do so, any sense of hesitation will be minimized.
  3. Be open to possibilities. This may mean looking at things a bit differently in order to realize options and opportunities. After all, you’re an entrepreneur. Do not stop being one!
  4. Keep an eye on your competition while also keeping an eye on your industry. Know what’s going on in your local market. Be informed. Be aware.
  5. Be conscious of your mental health. Form alliances with fellow entrepreneurs and business owners. Open up to loved ones to ensure they understand what you may be going through. Sometimes a hug can change a mind-consuming burden into a glimmer of hope and optimism, and a clear mind.

Have a great day. Make it happen. Make it count!

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