05 May ‘Success is not final’
Whilst doing some work for a client the other day on supply chain management, something I expected to be quite unrelated to my role in marketing and PR, I was surprised to find some of the messages really struck a chord. So much so, I felt it warranted sharing them with you.
Whatever department, business or industry, you are in, when it comes to continuous improvement, whether in relation to your supply chain or marketing your business, we all need it to be successful and gain competitive advantage.
We should try to improve the core components of our business – supply, demand, product and services etc. – and key business skills – communication, time-management, building relationships, and so forth. Then once we have worked on improving each, we should go back to the beginning and do it again, and again, and again.
This is something, in my opinion, not only a lot of businesses miss, but people too. You have to continuously improve and refine, reinvent yourself, even when you are number one – arguably even more so then.
Afraid of rocking the boat, businesses tend to become static when they are at their peak. Focus becomes maintaining what you’ve already got rather than keep moving forward. But if you do this, you will wake up one morning and find your business isn’t number one any more, because all those other businesses that have been busy being innovative and creative to try and catch you, will end up passing you by. Inevitably if you don’t keep moving forward, you will go backwards.
Undoubtedly continuous improvement takes a lot of courage. You have to challenge yourself, your position and how your company works. You have to question what has gone before and be brave enough to lead yourself and others in a different direction if necessary; you have to be willing to take risks.
In today’s fast-paced business environment, there is always room for creativity and innovation, not just in the departments with which you would naturally associate it, such as advertising and marketing (although these of course continue to be important) but organisation-wide. Managers and executives at all levels should lead and inspire forward thinking across the board.
Innovation, in particular, is a key word at the moment in businesses across the globe. With economic uncertainty prevailing, innovation is required to distinguish a business from its competitors and is an essential prerequisite for success, in some cases even for survival.
So when it comes to marketing and advertising, it is time to think outside the box. It’s not enough to carry on with the same marketing strategy you had a year ago. What was best practice then, is not necessarily best practice now. With new platforms to market yourself, new mediums to infiltrate, there are always things to learn, ways to improve.
It is important to recognise no one and nothing is perfect, moreover nothing lasts forever. So as we continue to progress our careers and businesses, we’ll do well to remember the wise words of Winston Churchill: ‘success is not final’.