Same old stuff?

same old stuff

What does “status quo” mean to you? Is it a famous rock band, a bit of Latin text from your schooldays, or is it something to be avoided like the plague when it comes to business?

I’m thinking about questions like this as I’ve just participated in the IoD North West regional conference on the theme of Disruption. Treated to glittering presentations by companies like Uber, Salesforce and Metro bank, I was reminded forcefully of the value of original thought, albeit outside the proverbial box.I don’t expect all of us to break the mould in quite the way Uber has and grow globally with eye-watering speed to dizzying levels of turnover. But equally I’m sure we can all take something of value from a study of such businesses.

Even if it means you simply avoid getting your business stuck in a rut then it’s been worth the effort. Most people work hard at promoting themselves but if you stop to think about it, digging hard once you’re in a rut can only be counterproductive. You simply get stuck in at a very much deeper level and it feels like the lights have gone out because you’re at the bottom of what is now an exceedingly deep rut. Oh, and it’s also just become a whole lot harder to get out of your rut as you’re now surrounded by vertical walls which are impossible to climb!

I suppose the crux of the problem is it takes a bit of bravery to shake the market up and challenge the status quo. It also takes guts to spend time outside your traditional area of work and do the hard thinking that ensures your new idea doesn’t simply get laughed at or ignored.

I know Disruption is a theme that’s on the lips of just about every business guru these days but in reality it’s been around for ages in one form or another. Anyone can do it and as many of the extremely young entrepreneurs today show, to them it’s very natural and intuitive. Follow your ideas with passion and pursue your instincts – you may be pleasantly surprised by the results.

Work hard at removing barriers, challenge your existing business model, network with new people to get different angles on old questions – the very process of doing these things may be all you need.

A useful summary of the four limiting factors we encounter when we try to break out and do something new could be these: habits, attitudes, expectations and beliefs. It’s more than a five minute job to set about changing all of them but I would suggest a very good first step would be to admit to yourself that they’re not set in stone.

A review is always a good place to start working on a business – starting small doesn’t preclude you from thinking big when it comes to the crunch.  I’ll bet that guy from Uber didn’t shirk from doing his homework and prep – probably started in the back of a black cab!

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