What is the most important component of business success?

by | Aug 5, 2022

I typed that question into an internet search engine, and got 589,000,000 answers. From the suggestions on just the first two pages of results, I created this ‘word cloud’. Of course, it shows all the usual answers – leadership, marketing, systems…

I believe that there are some things missing from all those lists I found, and in this article I will explain one of them – being hyper-aware of your business environment.

Back in June I wrote this article for Inside Small Business about doing a regular PESTLE analysis – assessing the political, economic, social, technological, legal and environmental trends that are happening around you.

I contend that doing this sort of analysis, and using what you have learned to guide your business decisions, deserves to be in that list of critical business success factors – and toward the top of the list at that.

Thankfully, there are many sources of reliable intelligence about the world around us we can use to follow big trends. (Facebook isn’t one of them!) Australia’s own national science agency, CSIRO, is one of those sources. (Did you know that the CSIRO invented Wi-Fi? That alone makes them important!)

Ten years ago, CSIRO produced a Global Megatrends report. Now, in 2022, they have followed it up with another.

CSIRO calls megatrends “trajectories of change that typically unfold over years or decades, and have the potential for substantial and transformative impact”. Megatrends sound important don’t they? They are the sort of influences that we can ride to success, or resist and get run over.

The CSIRO list of important megatrends

Here’s the CSIRO’s list of the big trends ahead of us that will create success or failure for our business plans:

Adapting to a changing climate: The protection of livelihoods, infrastructure and people’s quality of life as the climate changes.

Unlocking the human dimension: The elevating importance of diversity, equity and transparency in business, policy and community decision making.

Leaner, cleaner and greener: The global push to reach net zero and beyond, protect biodiversity and use resources efficiently.

Increasingly autonomous: The rise of artificial intelligence and advanced autonomous systems to enhance productivity and outputs across all industries.

The escalating health imperative: The promotion of health in the face of rising demand, demographic ageing, emerging diseases and unhealthy lifestyles.

Diving into digital: The rapidly growing digital and data economy.

Geopolitical shifts: The increase in efforts to ensure global stability, trade and economic growth.

A Planning Tool

The CSIRO produces these reports to identify areas where they can use their scientific and technology skills to solve problems.

For us as small-business owners, it is a valuable list to guide our business. Megatrends are like a wave in the ocean. You can’t stop them. They start small and then grow.

And it’s better to ride a wave than get dumped by it.

A checklist

I have summarised the CSIRO conclusions into a checklist you can use with your team/business partners/financiers etc.:

  • What are we doing to protect our assets and people from climate change effects and crisis events?
  • Are we clear on our business purpose, and how we contribute to society and our community?
  • Are we taking steps to reduce our carbon and ecological footprint?
  • Can any of our operations take advantage of Artificial Intelligence, or are we threatened by it?
  • What can we do to make our people, and those who do business with us, healthier?
  • Are we embracing new technology as it becomes available?
  • If global trade is interrupted further by political tensions or more pandemics, are we protected?
  • And, most importantly, what changes could we make to our business that can take advantage of these megatrends as they unfold.

Happy planning!

This post first appeared on https://insidesmallbusiness.com.au on August 03, 2022.