VitalSpark: Coalition Blog

Posted: 12 July 2010, in Blog

“When it comes to the future, there are three kinds of people: those who let it happen, those who make it happen, and those who wonder what happened.” John M Richardson Jr

I’d like to suggest that you and your colleagues sit down and reflect about your business’s future. Find a time and place to get your thinking caps on. Here are some “catalysts” to get you going.

First off, do you sell your services and products to the state or other public sector bodies or do you sell to private businesses and private consumers?

If it is the former, are you locked into this relationship or can you sell to the latter? If not, can you diversify or set up new businesses?  What are you doing about the cuts that are coming – will they have any impact on your business or are you so necessary that you operate in a seller’s market?

What are the 4 big SWOT and PESTLE features that are going to dominate your future over the next 12 months and onward for the next 3 years?

Are you a bit of a technophobe? If the answer is the latter can I suggest that you do a wee analysis of the age profile, education and demographics of your staff, external stakeholders and your board.

If you ain’t busy (trading) online or engaging with young, bright, well educated and “new media savvy” social entrepreneurs you are way off the curve my friends. This recession will destroy old technologies and create new ways of doing business. Offer some new graduates placement or internship opportunities –they’ll bring new technology expertise with them.

Would a merger be a sensible move for your business? Would this give you more clout if you rely on public procurement and would this save your employee’s jobs?

The history of the co-op movement is littered with failed retail societies that got swallowed up by other co-ops. There was often a failure of commercial acumen and leadership and a tendency to whinge about “change” and more successful competitors. The leadership were often more interested in their positions and all that went with it than the needs of their employees and communities – social entrepreneurs should not make this mistake – hubris is pretty unattractive.

Finally, are you having any fun? Entrepreneurship attracts people who display a wide range of traits and personality characteristics (and flaws) – having a laugh is often required especially when you feel less than well disposed to colleagues, customers, beneficiaries, suppliers and funders etc. So, if the business ain’t giving you any satisfaction what are you going to do about it?