There’s no denying that zombies are a hot topic with a huge fan following, and the entertainment industry is saturated with books, movies and TV series all putting their spin on how a zombie virus might play out. Admittedly, my teenage son and I have engaged in several strategic conversations about how we would zombie-proof our home and survive an undead epidemic. But here in the real world surviving in business is a more pressing (not to mention realistic) issue – which lead me to thinking about the similarities. Exactly what can business owners learn from those hardy heroes who survive a zombie apocalypse?
- Have good leadership. The heroes triumph over the undead for good reason – they are strong and fearless, they take risks, they are innovative and they lead by example. It’s the same in successful businesses, where the owner is a hard-working trailblazer who inspires and motivates their staff by example and intuitive guidance.
- Plan for the future. While foraging for supplies will tide over survivors in the short term, taking a long term view such as harvesting sustainable food supplies will ensure the longevity of the group. Likewise, a business that is caught up in the day-to-day tasks and lacking long-term goals will find itself out of business before too long. One-page business plans that focus on the core goals and strategies provide focus, purpose and direction for an organisation’s future.
- Always have an exit strategy in place. It’s no use having a zombie-secure base if you can’t safely get out of it at crunch time. A business with no exit strategy in place is vulnerable to the unexpected. The best business owners understand that even though they may not be thinking about leaving the business, having no exit strategy can result in disaster. Because you never know what is around the corner, or when that crunch time will be.
- Be on the lookout for takeovers. Just as survival of the fittest applies in a cut-throat apocalyptic world, so is the case in today’s business environment. Successful business owners are always on the lookout for opportunities to expand and increase their market share, and mergers and acquisitions can be attractive options. Be aware of ways to protect your turf from competitor acquisition to ensure your business is in the strongest position for survival.
- Be open to new developments. None of us can predict the future. Will the zombie virus run its course and eventually the undead expire from starvation? Or will it manifest itself into a new form that provides different challenges and obstacles to survival? Of course this is all in our imaginations, but in the business world it is also hard to predict the future and what opportunities and challenges will come our way. Technology has never developed at such a rapid rate, and just this single element of business can shape our operations in ways that are difficult to imagine. Embrace new developments, adapt and turn them to your advantage to stay strong and future-focused.
Debbie Robson is Marketing Coordinator at UHY Haines Norton.