I recently moved into an early 20th century farmhouse, and although it’s beautiful and so much potential, like many home renovation projects it needs a lot of work. If you came to my house right now, you’d see six different contractors and an architect all in one day. This isn’t my first project, with every move I have made since I started on the property ladder, I get to work quickly. Why? Research shows that if homebuyers aren’t proactive to renovate and personalize their new home, they very quickly stagnate to make any changes, add value and the opportunity to make the most of their investment.
In the depths of winter, it’s easy to hesitate in making any major decisions, the ‘let’s wait until Spring’ attitude soon sets in, and you don’t engage contractors quickly enough to do the necessary work. By the time Spring arrives, the problems of home ownership can quickly escalate, the best contractors become booked up for months, and your investment is left in a worse position than when you first purchased. It’s all about competitive advantage.
History repeats itself
Every day we seem to hear of financial market turbulence, uncertainty around foreign policy and the threat of rising interest rates; the news can feel overwhelming. But we’ve been here before, or as Thucydides, the founding father of Western history argues: “history repeats itself.” In times of uncertainty investors waver, and countless businesses cut budgets straight away. They worry about staffing, sales targets, and numerous other things. This leads to stagnation and demotivation.
Take courage to differentiate yourself
In contrast, some of the best companies in the world will use this season to invest and innovate. While the competition is hesitating, these brands will take the opportunity to increase their share of voice and build a stronger foundation for when the market turns. But it’s a tough strategy to implement. Yes, it requires taking risks, and asking the tough questions. What are your most critical areas? What could be your greatest opportunities? Having the courage to differentiate yourself in times of uncertainty can be the key to taking your business to the next level.
“When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionable.”
If we look back through history, times of economic instability have created the catalyst for some of the world’s most innovative businesses. In 1928 Mickey Mouse was introduced to the world by brothers Walt and Roy Disney in their short-animated feature film, Steamboat Willie. In 1929 just as The Great Depression began, they formed Walt Disney Productions. They believed that even in the toughest of times, their growing audience still needed entertainment. Even through the challenges of the Great Depression they continued to grow their business, it resulted in their first full length feature, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. They never looked back.
“Innovation is the real driver of progress.”
In 1973, an oil crisis combined with a stock market crash caused a 16-month recession where the GDP took a severe hit in almost 20 years. Yet in those tough times Bill Gates and Paul Allen started to develop some computer software which we now know as Microsoft. The economic downturn after 9/11 was the impetus for Apple to pivot by creating new products, one of which was the iPod, their first non-computer product produced in several years. It was instrumental in changing consumer’s relationship with music.
These brands prospered because they chose to innovate, even when the odds were stacked against them. They created new products, expanded into new markets, and sought out new opportunities. In any business, you can easily ignore your most critical challenge and decide to put it off until Spring. But the wait and see approach invites your competitors to gain advantage. Now is the time to do a deep clean of your business and identify innovative solutions to transform and grow.
Don’t wait until Spring.