Business Owners

Watchwords for Business Owners, Part 1: Adaptability

Overview: Introducing a new series of blog posts! We’re focusing on a few useful words that can help business owners throughout the year. This week’s word is “adaptability.” Read on to learn how to stay adaptable!

Last month, the Oxford Dictionary announced its word of the year for 2023: “rizz.” We’ll let you figure out for yourself how you can incorporate that particular word into your everyday life, but we love the concept of declaring a specific word to be important. It makes you think about the word, what it really means, and how it can affect you.

That’s why we’re devoting our blog posts this month to some words that we believe business owners should seriously ponder. Each week in January, we’ll present to you a different watchword and highlight some ways you can make it work for you and your business.

This week’s Watchword of the Week? Adaptability! Let’s dive in.

How Does the Dictionary Define It? 

Not to get all “graduation ceremony speech” on you, but we’re going to start these posts with a quick glance at the basic dictionary definition of each word.

Let’s turn to our friends at the aforementioned Oxford English Dictionary. Their definition of “adaptability” goes like this: “The quality or state of being adaptable.”

Gee, thanks, Oxford. Okay, let’s check out the definition of “adaptable.” It goes like this: “Able to adjust to new conditions or situations, or to changes in one’s environment.”

It’s easy to see how this applies to the animal kingdom — think of furry creatures who grow thicker coats to keep them warm during the frigid winter months, or species who evolve to have natural camouflage that keeps them unnoticed by predators. Animals who are adaptable are the ones who live longer lives.

Now, how does it relate to business?

Adaptability in the “Business Kingdom” 

Take a cue from the animals! Just as the animals who adjust to changing circumstances are the ones who thrive, so too are the businesses that adjust to changing circumstances. In business, allowing yourself to be adaptable can mean the difference between surviving to see another quarter and going under.

Evolving Business Models 

Everyone has heard of Nintendo, a company whose name is synonymous with video games and game consoles. But did you know Nintendo started out making playing cards? It’s true! Over 120 years ago, when Nintendo was first starting out, their focus was on manufacturing cards used in a variety of Japanese games. This continued to be their specialty for decades.

To make a long story short, when electronic games became a hot new trend in the 1970s, Nintendo saw an opportunity and went for it. They started making handheld games, then arcade games, and the rest is history. (And we’re pretty happy about it — imagine a world without Mario Kart!)

Your business model probably won’t change quite so drastically, but it’s a good reminder to be open to making a change. If you see a new opportunity come along, don’t be too quick to dismiss it!

>> Related Reading: 14 Famous Business Pivots

New Technologies 

Here’s a cautionary tale (which was recently adapted as a movie!): At the beginning of the ’00s, BlackBerry was the go-to manufacturer for personal digital devices. BlackBerry devices included sturdy physical buttons that responded with a satisfying “click” when you pressed.

Then Apple debuted the iPhone in 2007, and users fell in love with its touchscreen interface. BlackBerry had an opportunity to integrate touchscreens in its own products, but they were confident that they could retain their popularity by sticking with physical keyboards. As you know, they were wrong. Today, BlackBerry devices are thought of as a relic of the past.

Here’s a less dramatic example: When smartphones and tablets began their rise in popularity, wise businesses started redesigning their websites to be more mobile-friendly, and many chose to create their own apps so customers could make transactions in a user-friendly environment.

These businesses were able to provide a pleasant experience for their customers, while those whose websites were stuck in the desktop design era were left with frustrated customers… whose frustration could turn them into ex-customers.

We’re not saying you should rush into adopting any new technology that comes along. But you also shouldn’t be afraid of it! Do some research and think about how it might affect your business, then decide whether it’s right for you.

Remember: Your Customers’ Tastes May Change  

If we had to sum up the recurring theme of this blog post, it would be something like “Things aren’t always going to go like you expect.” And sometimes, you might think you know exactly who your customers are — their demographics, their preferences, where they like to hang out on social media — only to look up one day and realize that all of those “facts” have changed.

Maybe your #1 best-selling item gradually becomes less and less popular. Maybe you notice the geographical distribution of your online customers shifting. Or maybe you start to notice a sea of new followers on social media who are younger or older than what you’re accustomed to.

Don’t be confused. Be adaptable! There are many reasons why a new audience might discover you, and just as many reasons why your existing audience might drift away. You can certainly do some market research to understand how it all happened. But while you’re at it, don’t take your new audience for granted!

Think about ways you can continue to appeal to your new audience through your product offerings and your marketing… and if you’d like to lure your “old” audience back, you can work on some additional efforts to target them.

>> Related Reading: What Are Demographics in Marketing?

In Conclusion 

Just as adaptability helps animals survive the harsh realities of nature, adaptability can also help entrepreneurs survive the harsh realities of business. By accepting change and making adjustments, you can prevent your business from becoming stagnant and keep it thriving.

So as you make your way through 2024 and beyond, focus on adaptability and how you can apply it to your business!

At MyUnlimitedWP, we strive to constantly adapt to new developments in the website world. We stay on top of changes to WordPress, Wix, Squarespace, and Shopify, and we stay current with all the latest plug-ins, website builders, and more. And we do it all so we can help business owners like YOU stay adaptable with our website support offerings!

If you’re starting to suspect your website is behind the times — or if you just need some fixes and fine-tuning — contact us today! We’d love to help you! And keep an eye out for more Watchwords in the coming weeks!

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