What should companies do to shift focus towards sustainability? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.
Sustainability is a buzz word of note, but what does that mean, practically, for our businesses, and particular in emerging markets? To me, the answer is that to be sustainable, my company must develop resilience, the ability to bend without breaking and adapt regardless of what we encounter.
These are the top four areas where I believe we need to build resilience into our business models in order be sustainable.
a. Financial resilience: Work towards profitability, because this is what true financial sustainability looks like. Financial sustainability is good business. Before you have investors knocking on your door, figure out if and how your business can survive without constant injections of capital, in your specific operating environment.
b. Regulatory resilience: Invest in compliance. It can feel prohibitively expensive, but invest in good legal and financial advice early--and follow it! Building the foundations of your business for resilience as you grow prevents you from expensive and painful "remodeling" to correct weaknesses that were amplified as you scaled.
c. Product and market share resilience: Know your customers and your markets. Spend time with them. Ensure you are cultivating strong relationships, robust feedback loops, and multiple, reliable data points to inform your product and market decisions.
d. Team resilience: Invest in the sustainable management of your most valuable resource; your people. It's common sense and some deliberate hard work. This is the process I follow to invest in my most valuable human resources:
1. Recruit the best talent you can afford using rigorous hiring practices.
2. Hire the individuals whose temperaments and abilities complement and thrive in your specific company culture.
3. Communicate a clear vision and expectations, including around maintaining a balance between performance and burnout.
4. Create the space and provide the tools that empower your teams to deliver.
5. Trust the team you built to do great things.
6. Share the celebration and the reward when they do.
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