Why constant reinvention is the secret to keeping your business in the game

It's when business is going well that you should undertake new challenges, writes Shirley Anthony


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When should you consider a change in career or your life? When is the best time to launch a new product?  

The answer: when you are experiencing success. It’s then that you have the enthusiasm and energy to channel in a new direction.  

Initiate a Second Curve
I’ve recently been reading a book by management and behavioural guru, Charles Handy. It's called, "The Second Curve" and in it Handy proposes that we need to make changes before the curve we are currently riding reaches its peak and begins to dip.  

Use the momentum of your current circumstances and achievements to reinvent, either yourself or your business - this encourages innovation and continued success.  

The Second Curve in action
Let’s look at a couple of examples of people who have implemented this theory.

Steve Jobs and his team masterminded and launched the Apple Macintosh. Not resting on their laurels, they diversified and entered the music market with the Apple iPod. This was followed by an introduction into the cellular industry with the iPhone.  

Using the impetus of that initial launch, Steve Jobs successfully established Apple as the leading global technology innovator.      

"When you are doing well it’s tempting to bask in the glory and take your foot off the accelerator"

Similarly, Sir Alex Ferguson led Manchester United to one victory after another during his almost three decades at the helm.  His strategy, even whilst his team was on a winning streak, was to constantly be on the lookout for new talent and open to making team changes.  

The danger of not initiating the Second Curve
Let’s face it, when you are doing well it’s tempting to bask in the glory and take your foot off the accelerator. Furthermore, making change is often uncomfortable – often we tend to avoid change.  

The risk of not seizing the opportunity, however, is that in the future you may be forced to make a change in your business or career, and then your circumstances may not be as favourable.    

Camera equipment giant, Kodak, was a leader in its industry but failed to reinvent its business and move to the world of digital.  Today Kodak does not exist.  

Be open to the Second Curve
So, how do you put yourself in a position to encourage Second Curve thinking and action?

Stay abreast of global innovation and new ways of thinking:

  • Participate in webinars (you can even multi-task and do your e-mails at the same time);  
  • Read books (audio-books in your car are a great way to stay on top of your game); 
  • Subscribe to expert newsletters.  

If you are open to new ways of doing things, the ideas for reinvention will automatically follow.  

There are instances of CEOs of leading organisations who regularly take sabbaticals from their businesses. This gives them the opportunity to distance themselves, travel and be exposed to new thinking.  

Koos Bekker is one such CEO. During his time at the helm of media and technology giant, Naspers, he has twice taken a sabbatical.  

His wisdom in pursuing this time of reinvention is evident from the surge in his company’s growth and the fact that Naspers is now the eighth largest Internet business in the world.  

  • Like what you read? You can get a free chapter 'Wooing Customers' from Shirley Anthony's book: 'The NEW Entrepreneur: A Practical Marketing Guide For Growing Your Business' here.

About the author: Shirley Anthony is an author, speaker and owner of Marketing Breakthroughs, a marketing consultancy operating for over twenty years. Having initially gained corporate experience in fast-moving consumer-goods branding, she has consulted in over twenty-five industries, including cellular, information technology, travel, engineering, food, cosmetics, architecture and banking.  

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