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Ask yourself: Is your business still relevant?

In today’s constantly changing marketplace, organisations can come and go with alarming rapidity.

Even apparently secure household names can end up at the bottom of the pile and with seemingly no warning. Over recent years we’ve seen a number of high profile brands become outdated and disappear in a very short space of time.

The speed at which businesses can go from being on top of their game to completely obsolete is something that all organisations should be aware of. If you want to make sure your business is around for the long haul, staying relevant should be a priority.

How do I know whether my business is relevant?

According to business expert and author Michael McQueen, relevance can best be determined not by looking at sales and customer engagement but by other less obvious factors. McQueen terms these subtle indicators an organisation’s “silent pulse”.

In a study of 500 organisations, McQueen identifies key factors, which he believes determine whether or not a business is relevant to its audience on an ongoing basis. Current sales figures, he argues, are a result of previous decisions and to look at how current decisions are going to affect the business in the future, there needs to be a focus on culture and staff with a view to staying open to change and not getting complacent.

How do I stay relevant?

Staying relevant in a rapidly changing business world can be challenging and even if you are at the top of the relevance curve now, it doesn’t mean you can be complacent. To help ensure your business stays relevant, McQueen suggests recalibrating and overhauling your organisation on a regular basis. This doesn’t mean making sweeping changes to everything. It’s important to identify which elements of your organisation, its core values and beliefs, need to remain the same to maintain your identity, and re-evaluate what can change.

Once an organisation has determined what its values are and what it needs to keep constant, it can remove anything that might be inhibiting growth in the future. This can include outdated processes and attitudes along with staff members who are impeding change. According to McQueen the key to staying relevant is in having a diverse group of employees and encouraging staff members to hold different views and look at problems from a fresh perspective rather than trying to uphold the status quo.

As well as evaluating the overall company culture and staffing, McQueen believes that organisations need to continually reposition and re-evaluate their brand so as to remain relevant and avoid becoming obsolete. Launching new products and broadening their target markets are all beneficial and keep a business moving forward while settling into a rut can hold it back and lead to irrelevance and potential disaster.

Organisations shouldn’t underestimate the importance of staying relevant if they want to survive in the future. With so many advancements in technology and the changing work environment, a willingness to try new things and accept new ideas is essential for any business who wants to stay at the top of the relevance curve and avoid obsolescence in the future.

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Jo Macdermott

Jo Macdermott

<a href="http://au.linkedin.com/in/jomacdermott">Jo Macdermott</a> is the Chief Marketing Consultant at <a href="http://www.nextmarketing.com.au/">Next Marketing</a> in Melbourne. She has 15 years of marketing experience, is a Certified Practising Marketer and is a sought after marketing media commentator. Jo specialises in working with small and medium businesses. Follow her on <a href="https://twitter.com/NextMarketingAU">Twitter here</a>.

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