Can you recall life before the internet and social media? Difficult as it is to believe, we actually managed to get by.
Yet, just think about how the internet and social media has changed the way businesses operate, all the way from garden service companies through to corporate giants. Business change comes about due to forces both within and without organisations.
Businesses are often “forced” to make changes to their target markets, business offerings, operating models, and even personnel, based on external factors. And “with every change comes gain and loss” is a truism with which we may all be familiar. The trick comes in deriving value for your business out of so called “forced” changes. Finding value in change, or adding value from apparent forced change, is both a skill and an art.
I would contend that a good deal of time should be spent analysing the losses and gains from the changes that are being forced upon us. This analysis should be done against the back drop of the stakeholders impacted by the changes. In particular the customers, employees and suppliers we all do business with.
For example, take the privacy regulation (PoPI) for the South African market. Many business owners see legal compliance projects as grudge purchases and do as little as possible to get by the regulator. In essence though, privacy regulation is consumer protection regulation and aims to protect everyone from three basic threats. Firstly, from having your identity stolen, secondly, from continuously being spammed to buy products and services in which you have no interest, and finally, protecting all our personal information from cyber-attacks.
Wouldn’t you like to be the one business that does that best? What will that say about you?
For the business owner this is a great opportunity:
- Upgrading and protecting the company asset of client information will be necessary but it is a good thing to do in any case. Not only will you be protecting one of your greatest assets, but you will also simultaneously protect your own strategic business information.
- PoPI gives every business an opportunity to contact clients to ensure their records are up to date (ensuring data quality) and to negotiate the opportunity to tailor communication and connection to every client’s needs and preferences.
- Finally, we all have the opportunity to protect the personal information of clients, third parties and employees from known threats. Treating customers, employees and third parties with care and respect to protect their rights, is not only the right thing to do, it is good business practice.
Every change has gains and loss. The knack is maximising the gains, minimising the losses and doing the right thing. Treat your stakeholders the way you would like to be treated and the value add comes along with little or no extra effort.