Business Magazine

Recycle the Cycle

Posted on the 25 April 2011 by Alanhargreaves @RechargeToday

More work for your think tank 

The Great Recession was a great reminder on one great fact: the business cycle is not dead. There have been about ten recessions in my lifetime – one about every five to six years. Get used to them. If you are 35 now, expect another half a dozen before you retire.

There are a few other cycles we should also be aware of. There’s the life cycle of your products. They don’t remain fashionable forever. There’s also the life cycle of your business. It might begin as an exciting start-up. If it doesn’t crash and burn, there is a good chance it will evolve into a mature entity. But if it is like most companies, eventually it will go into decline.

It’s almost planned that way. Did you ever see a business plan that aimed to keep the business in the exciting start-up stage forever? No, the five year plan invariably targets some kind of stress-free, profitable existence by year five.

The life-cycle of a business mirrors your own life-cycle. The start-up stage is like adolescence. It’s high risk. It runs on adrenalin and hope is freely available. You work hard. You work weekends. Anything to get this great idea off the ground. Like many teenagers, it may run off the rails, but not for lack of enthusiasm. The startup business starts with a fully-charged set of batteries.

How do you stay charged when you start to mature?

What do you do to avoid that decline in market position or youthful enthusiasm?

This a job for your think tank. I’ve talked about this notion before. To refresh your mind on think tanks, click here. When you’ve done that, throw any one of the following topics into the tank.

  • Your infrastructure: what can you do with what you’ve got. You might have developed a great sales team selling a great product. What else can they sell? What’s the exciting new product line that could build on your resources, or your market presence, or your creativity. What’s a good example? Apple went from Mac to laptop to Ipod to Iphone to Ipad. Sometimes it’s like a permanent startup.
  • Your industry: who are the natural allies for your business? Can you buy customers? Do your suppliers make better returns than you? Are they such an integral part of your business that you should merge with them, or take them over, or be taken over by them? Are you better off buying a competitor? Examining the acquisition of another firm can put a very creative spotlight on your own. You might simply find a better way of doing what you already do.
  • Your people: in their excellent book, Switch, Chip and Dan Heath gave the great example of what’s possible. The Latin American firm, Brasilata, introduced an innovation programme which encouraged roughly 1000 employees to be inventors and come up with new ideas. In 2008, they came with more than 130,000 of them. That’s a serious brainstorming session. Whether you have two employees or 200, try unleashing the power of an innovation contest in your own firm.

If you find inertia sneaking into your business, kick-start your think tank. Treat it like a venture capital firm. Give it a simple brief: look for exciting new investments that leverage off the infrastructure you’ve got, in the industry you know, using the people you already have.

For creative tactics to keep your business moving, invest in a copy of Recharge. It's in bookshops now, or you can buy it online here.

You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Big Food Giants Manipulate Public Health Policy in China

    Food Giants Manipulate Public Health Policy China

    Coca-Cola is at it again. As soda sales decline in the United States and Europe, beverage companies look to emerging economies like China for growth. And, it... Read more

    The 15 January 2019 by   Dietdoctor
  • Jewellery for a Precious You

    Jewellery Precious

    Jewellery is always close to a woman’s heart. It completes her look and boost confidence. Considering the changing trends in jewellery fashion, it becomes... Read more

    The 15 January 2019 by   Dr.jenifer Sayyed
  • Rajshri Productions’ Next Is A Film On Friendship | Hum Chaar | Trailer

    Abhishek Dixit’s debut feature film Hum Chaar is a Bollywood film made under the banner of Rajshri’s film. Hum Chaar is written and directed by Abhishek Dixit. Read more

    The 15 January 2019 by   Themoviean
  • Saint Paul the First Hermit

    Saint Paul First Hermit

    Today is the feast day of Saint Paul the hermit. This is a sweet and delicate Oatmeal Bread topped with rolled oats and naturally sweetened with agave. Saint... Read more

    The 15 January 2019 by   Veronica46
  • Irupathiyonnaam Noottaandu | Teaser | Pranav Mohanlal | Arun Gopy

    Arun Gopy’s Irupathiyonnaam Noottaandu is an upcoming Malayalam action-drama feature film starring Pranav Mohanlal and Zaya David in the lead roles. Read more

    The 15 January 2019 by   Themoviean
  • A Year Of Body Positivity

    Year Body Positivity

    Last January, as I sat there on New Years eve all set to make the same old resolutions I've made year after year for as long as I can remember, I realised how... Read more

    The 15 January 2019 by   Sparklesandstretchmarks
  • Garden Bloggers Bloom Day – Jan 2019

    Garden Bloggers Bloom 2019

    Euphorbia rigidaWhen I went out to take the photos for this blog post I was surprised at how much was in flower dotted around the garden. Read more

    The 15 January 2019 by   Patientgardener