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4 Steps To An Adaptive Business Model

In the modern era of interconnected business, it is important for organisations to be able to operate in a highly adaptive way. The business world is a rapidly changing place; all sorts of things can turn it on its head – from disruptive innovations in a sector to sudden and significant changes in customer trends, and even major global events, must like the COVID-19 pandemic.

Business Model

COVID-19 was a perfect example of why businesses ought to have adaptive business models. Businesses did the best they could during the onset of the virus. Many companies were forced to close their doors for long periods of time in order to mitigate the spread of the virus; some businesses – such as essential retailers, grocers, cafes and restaurants – were able to pivot to lessen the pressures of the pandemic, such as by offering (or increasing) delivery services, or no-contact transactions. Some businesses, rather than having to reduce or halt services, actually had to ramp up services – namely companies that producing medical supplies, protective equipment, etc. These are all examples of ways in which businesses adapted to COVID, however, not all businesses were as well prepared.

One company that was able to adapt well to COVID-19 was TechQuarters, a company that provides IT support services in London and many regions across the UK. They were able to continue business throughout the onset of the virus by getting rid of their offices and going remote.

1. Establish Your Strengths

In order to be able to adapt to changes in the market (and in the world) your business needs to know what it is they offer to customers and markets. Every company has a different set of assets, expertise, experience, and processes that can be utilized to take advantage of opportunities. Perhaps a new product or service that is in high demand is available that your business can adopt and offer to customers? Or perhaps you have the opportunity to engage in a business partnership that opens doors to new markets, or which helps to expand your existing set of services?

A company’s core strengths could be all sorts of things. It could be the equipment they use, or it could be the employees who operate said equipment. Identifying one’s strengths as a business is a critical step, and should be done extensively until you have a clearly defined set of core strengths.

2. Constantly Assess Opportunities and Threats

As the world has witnessed with COVID, the markets and environments that businesses operate in can change drastically, and very quickly. Though some changes may not be as extreme as the onset of a pandemic, they might still have significant effects on a business.

A business with an adaptive model should be constantly assessing the opportunities available in their environment – and due to the fact the environment could be turned on its head, the need for continual assessment is key here. How have the needs of your customers changed or grown due to social, technological, or commercial developments? Have recent circumstances brought you closer to a new market? Or led you to another business whom you could partner with? Your employees may have ideas in this respect, and so fostering a culture of brainstorming on all levels of the business is also important for an adaptive business model.

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With all of this said, it is also very important to constantly be assessing potential threats emerging due to new and changing environments. Perhaps some development has caused customer needs to change in a way that your business is less able to accommodate, and so you risk losing customers? Perhaps a significant disruption to supply chains has been triggered? Maybe, like with COVID-19, cash flow is dwindling due to less footfall, or reduce buyer habits. Keeping a lookout for potential threats is just as important as looking out for new opportunities.

3. Develop Scenarios and Strategies

Along with the business practice of assessing markets and business environments in order to identify potential opportunities and threats, a business should also adopt the practice of building scenarios to help themselves be quicker to adapt to change. Considering your business’ core strengths, how might you seize an opportunity in the most effective way? Equally, if a new threat to your business’ success emerged from changes in the market, how would you use your core strengths to avoid or mitigate said threat?

This is why knowing one’s core strengths is important because it enables a business to build strategies that they can apply to different scenarios. Modeling a wide range of scenarios is also useful because it helps a business identify different strategies that they can use to adapt.

4. Implement Adaptive Life Cycles

All of the above steps are critical to an adaptive business strategy, but they are not steps that define it. In fact, everything that has been discussed already are things that every business should be doing anyway – traditional approaches to business strategy all involve defining core strengths, assessing opportunities and strengths, developing scenarios for them, and defining strategies. But what really transforms these steps into the makings of an adaptive business model is Adaptive Life Cycles.

An Adaptive Life Cycle is the cyclical process of implementation, assessment, and improvement. What differentiates the adaptive life cycle with traditional life cycles, when applied to business strategies, is that a business does not chart a long-term course for its business strategy. Instead, regular assessment is essential to the strategy, as is continuous improvement of the strategy.

This approach to strategy is aligned with the rapid and changing nature of modern markets and business environments. Many business leaders agree that businesses must learn to be more adaptive and agile if they are to survive among their fellows. If a business becomes too entrenched in a long-term strategy, there is the risk that the scenarios they anticipated no longer exist, and they haven’t been able to prepare for the new or emerging scenarios they are witnessing.

All of the steps and processes described above should be underlined by performance measures, regular assessments, and the ability to adapt in light of new evidence.

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