One of the biggest challenges of companies is to stay relevant in an ongoing changing market. Staying relevant is the main reason why companies has to think of modernization as a need and not a luxury.

Why do companies need to stay relevant?

Businesses exist to satisfy a specific need or desire of their targeted clients. When the clients’ needs and behaviours changes, companies must follow that path to stay relevant to their clients. Because, the clientele of 2020 is much different than the one of 2010 and different than 1980, etc. 

While the big companies are able to dictate the new trends or behaviors, not all businesses can follow this methodology. This is what makes it difficult for businesses (especially the small and mediums ones) to survive their clients’ needs. 

Clients are more and more educated; they are aware of the new technologies; they have clear expectations because they know what your competitors are offering, how they are supporting them, and what benefits they are aiming to get by buying your product or service. 

This means that if you as a company are not up to date with the latest technologies, your competitors’ offering, the clients’ needs and buying behaviours… you may become perceived as “obsolete.”  

Only 12% of companies listed on the fortune 500 in 1955 still exist in 2017 (the list of 1955 here and the 2017 list here). Those companies survived different change waves throughout the years and were able to quickly adapt. 

The capacity of adapting to new waves of change is key to surviving in the market! 

Today, everyone has access to information and anyone can assess whether you are a fit for them or not. In 2020, some clients will refuse to work with you, if you have no code of ethics or if you have one that they don’t buy into.  

If you don’t know your clients yet, then you don’t have a clear description of their needs, their desires, their behaviours and their buying culture & channels. This makes it harder for you to keep up with the existing and coming waves of change. 

COVID-19 is the best example of companies’ capacity of staying relevant. When the pandemic suddenly hit the world early 2020, many of the “obsolete” companies struggled… they didn’t know where to start or how to handle the situation. Their employees were stuck at home and no work could be done from offices, their clients couldn’t go out to meet face to face to build trust that most sales relationships rely on.

The COVID-19 test was successful only for the companies who were relevant and the companies who had modern business models in place, see list here.

Other companies were not modernized but they were flexible enough to switch gears during the pandemic and come up with effective solutions to keep doors open and keep cash flying in. Unfortunately, not all companies were able to survive this pandemic. In the US only, 100 000 small businesses have closed doors forever. 

Modernizing the business to stay relevant is not a luxury; it is a real matter of surviving or not. 

Where to start to modernize your business and stay relevant? 

Modernizing the business may seem scary or complex; but it does not need to be, if planned well and taken step-by-step. Any transformation is a journey that requires solid mindset & culture to achieve your end goals. Making big changes over night has never been a good idea for you or for your clients, employees and suppliers. So how to modernize in the most simple, affordable and practical way? 

Thanks to the generosity of many companies, you can access a lot of useful material and knowledge online, at minimum to no cost at all. Here are some quick steps for a smooth & efficient transformation to the modern world: 

  1. Define your goals & objectives based on the reality of your own business and make sure to have quantifiable ones. 
  1. Create a clear value proposition that will generate revenue and allow you to achieve the defined goals. 
  1. Have a clear buyer persona of your ideal client and become an expert in their needs, ethics, behaviors and preference. Accepting that not all clients are a fit for you, is a big step to succeeding. Focus on your ideal client and do your best to satisfy their needs.  
  1. Define your customer journey map to make sure that the different touchpoints or interactions you have with you clients are smartly planned, and you are in control of how and when they happen. This will increase the engagement of your clients with your business and will benefit you on the long term. 
  1. Define your digital roadmap, to identify the different tools & technologies you will need to achieve your goals and meet clients’ needs. 
  1. State internal & external communication plans to make sure you are all aligned internally to provide the best experience to your clients and to meet your clients in the channels they prefer to build strong brand awareness. 
  1. Determine your key sales channels and continuously work on diversifying them so you de-risk your sales process and enhance your success changes. 
  1. Execution -put your plans to work. 
  1. Monitor data and measure the results. 
  1. Turn data into insights so you can improve your different initiatives while being in control of how your business is growing and adapting to the market needs. 

When planning for modernization, it is key to customize your business plans to reality. A lot of companies will adopt a new technology just because it is popular or competitors are using it, however, it’s not the technology that makes the difference but the data & team adoption. So, if you or your team are not ready yet to become a fully automated business; THAT IS OK.

Start small, make quick wins, build a strong brand and you will end up having a modern business, relevant to the clients and employees without breaking the bank account or disrupting your daily operations. 

Here is a list of useful links to start transforming your business into a modern one today: 

  • For your value proposition; I love this one 
  • For your buyer personas; this is a great place to start 
  • For your customer journey; you can start here 
  • For your social media management; this is a free option to start 
  • For your online presence; this is the best tool now  
  • For your online sales; start here 

So, when are you starting to modernize your business? 

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