The chinese symbol for change has two meanings – Danger and Opportunity. Cantonese is a language that has been around for over 2000 years and how apropos in these times when there seems to be bad news at every corner of the day from the media spelling bad news.
Most folks listen or look at bad news and figure out intelligent ways to cope with it and not let it bring them down – personally and professionally. Very few will ask: What is the opportunity here? And the truth of the matter is that there is tremendous opportunity in these times. Yes, I said it…tremendous opportunities. For those of you that have been laid off or have been looking for jobs or have seen your small business significantly constrict over the past 12 months, you’re calling BS on me right now. I know. But hear me out.
If you are in the product or service business, ask yourself some fundamental questions. You may have asked these questions before… but this time, it’s different. This time, the stakes are high. Is your business model designed for the past or the future? Are you skills designed for the past or the future? Are your people living in expectations to return to the past or in preparation for the future?
You know where I am going with this. This is THE time to be asking these questions and this is THE time to be truthful – and this IS the opportunity. If your answers are not aligned with the future, then the opportunity is to figure out how to reinvent yourself, your business model, and your people. I would argue that this opportunity comes every so often and those that seize it not only survive, but actually thrive. Ask yourself these fundamental questions, then talk to others who are doing well in this economy and see what works for them. In my own questioning, there are several major themes that you can use to gauge whether you are in the past or the future.
- How scalable is your business? The less scalable, the less it is ready for future.
- How much is technology embedded in what you do? The less technology, the less it is ready for future.
- How much discernible value does your product or service bring to your clients and customers? The less clear it is, the less it is ready for future.
- Are you cheaper and better? If not, the less ready you are for the future.
It is hard to change when things are going great – because the burning platform to energize both yourself and your team is not there. Now that the platform exists, consider it a great opportunity. The alternative can be deadly.