Put a Twenty20 spin on your business

2008-05-19 00:00

There are many secrets to achieving successful relationships, not least important of these being a willingness to court change. In business, the relationship between company and customer is possibly the most important of all, and thus the need to constantly go in search of innovation, creativity and new ideas cannot be overestimated.

The number one reason for relationships failing has to do with repetition, boredom and poor communication.

From this, I am going to suggest that you, the entrepreneur, should never allow your business to stand still. You should constantly be asking yourself: "Can I make tomorrow more exciting, more successful?".

There are many examples of businesses re-conceptualising products and services to bring themselves up to date in the modern world.

One of the best examples comes from the banking sector, which over the past 20 years has made technological advancement a greenhouse for innovative product/service development. How successful they have been in marketing money!

Perhaps an even better illustration of creativity is the development of the IPL Twenty20 cricket tournament.

Creative, innovative entrepreneurs have taken one of the most staid, tradition-bound sports and turned it on its head. The concept is chock-a-block with innovation that adds up to massive family appeal and excitement.

I have always believed that innovation and creativity have much to do with an adventurous attitude of mind — a willingness to search out new ways, ideas or processes.

It goes without saying that not all people have a willingness to court change.

In fact, it seems that the majority of people when confronted with new ideas will go to great lengths to explain why they will never work. People like to remain in their established comfort zones.

However, these are people who follow and perhaps never realise their full potential.

Establishing which type of person you are is not too difficult. Try this thought process on for size: the fielding side in a Twenty20 match could consider employing two wicketkeepers.

How you respond to this suggestion will tell you much about the type of person you are with regard to creativity and your willingness to embrace change.

The examples of successful innovation have much to do with a simple business principle: you are not in business to make toilet seats or swimming pools, or run garden centres etcetera. You are in business to make money.

When I was a young lad starting out in business, this thinking was never entertained. You went to work and did the same things every day. People joined Lloyds Bank or the Royal insurance company and worked in the same job for 50 years, without change. Creative thought was suppressed by the security coming from the status quo. It was a job for life.

I am not saying that all developments have been good ones. What I am saying is, change is inevitable, so embrace it. Equally, I am saying, harness it, make change work for you, not against you. This thought process can save many important relationships — not just business ones.

Next week, I shall examine how you can embrace this type of thinking in your business — even if you are a stick-in-the-mud who hates the thought of doing things differently.

We shall start by looking at "The Happy Apple".

frankgreenfield@iafrica.com

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