There are many things that can threaten your company’s success.
Crises can take the form of lawsuits, scandals, and other public relations disasters that can permanently damage an organization’s standing among its competitors. Other times, companies close because they just can’t pay the bills.
However, the biggest threat is one you can’t see. You can’t prevent it, you can’t sidestep it, and when you see it, you may not even think it’s a threat.
It’s called change. And that’s where disruption planning comes into play.
What is disruption?
The term disruption is used in business to refer to changes in the way people think, feel, or behave that can have an impact on your industry. Disruption occurs because people’s needs and wants aren’t the same from one generation to the next. Successful companies welcome the future. They don’t fear it.
You may have heard the term “disruptive innovator.” A disruptive innovator is a person or business that changes the way that consumers behave, or recognizes these changes more quickly than competitors. Disruptive innovation may be as simple as changing the way that a product or service is provided to consumers, or it may involve replacing an established product or service with a newer, more popular one.
How can a company plan for disruption?
No one can see the future, but that doesn’t mean that your company will be powerless in the event of disruption. The following practices have helped other companies stay future-proof.
- Studying market trends among younger generations. Unless your company is made up entirely of twentysomethings, there’s probably a generational gap between your company’s key decisionmakers and the youngest consumers. Recognize this and take steps to stay relevant with this age group.
- Recognize changes in public opinion and find innovative solutions. For example, concerns about harm to the environment have an influence on consumer behavior in a way that no one in the 1970s could have anticipated. Other socially conscious trends in spending, such as the recent appeal of organic and fair trade produce, may be a niche market now, but that market could grow. Would your company stay viable if everyone suddenly demanded something that you couldn’t provide?
- Be open to finding new streams of revenue. A willingness to experiment and take risks will undoubtedly cost money, but a refusal to diversify could be more expensive in the long run. You can’t see the future, so don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
A strong connection to public affairs can increase the chances that your company will adapt to changes in the industry, rather than be overwhelmed by them.