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The Digital Transformation Series: Part 5 — “I stick to my 5 year plan … I’m a good entrepreneur.”

In the old days, companies were not the internet giants of today, reaping billions and trillions over night. They had to setup mammoth concerns, brick by brick, painstakingly building and growing a business that was to last 50 to 100 years. They hardly changed their goals from what were set out at the very beginning mostly because it was not easy to change. This culture of “no-change” has subconsciously affected us over the years. And besides, human beings hate change. And to top that, what about credibility — how will it look if I am seen as someone who constantly changes my beliefs … how will people trust me. This fear of critique haunts even the most valiant of entrepreneurs.

“It’s not the strongest who survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change.” — Charles Darwin.

Its easy for someone to say “Go and pivot” … but, what does it mean. It doesn’t mean that if you were selling steel until yesterday, that from tomorrow onward you start selling apples and oranges. Of course, there are companies that do that and beyond, but let’s not get there yet. Change can come in multiple colors — it can be a small feature of your app, a new technology that costs less to build your product or even perhaps a new revenue model.

And when do you know this is the right time you need to think about change? You know … when you are flooded with competition, when you’ve a hit a glass ceiling with your product, when your market is not too excited about your company or when only one product seems to garner attention while the rest of the company is simply not gaining traction. All these and some more should start getting you thinking differently.

When you’ve realized all this, don’t lose time … act quickly .. the markets will never wait. First and foremost, get all the information you need. And it is very important at this stage to listen to what your customer has to say. Scientific methods of customer discovery will reveal a treasure of information that would otherwise take several iterations and product failures to make people understand. Disseminate the information you collect, align your goals to the new vision and translate this into opportunities for growth.

All this may seem a little abstract for now, but trust me, in the upcoming parts of this series, we hope to get more tactical into what digital transformation is all about. So enough of storytelling and down to basics. Until then … Ciao!


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