Did you know that company longevity has trended negatively in recent years? In fact, research from QAD predicts that the average life span of S&P 500 companies will actually be five years shorter in 2030 than in 2019. Unsurprisingly, it points to increasing disruption as the leading cause.
Technology is driving the disruption that leaves many companies struggling to remain agile and evolve to meet new and pressing consumer demands. Industry leaders have found that consumers’ attention spans are shorter, and companies must now race the clock to release products before they can turn obsolete. The Covid-19 pandemic has only accelerated this trend as people rely more and more on convenient technological solutions. It’s no wonder McKinsey & Co. reports that companies’ development of digital or digitally enabled products and services increased a massive seven years’ worth in just a few months of 2020.
In my experience as the president of a company that has successfully delivered healthcare technology solutions for nearly 30 years, I’ve seen what it takes to ensure a company’s longevity in a world of constant innovation and disruption. If you’re worried about what these shifts mean for your organization, addressing the following three big-picture considerations can help your company successfully stand the test of time:
1. Right-size your organization with help from audits. It may be difficult to imagine how too many resources could hurt a company. But in this case, staffing can become an operational drain, helpful resources can go underutilized, and ultimately, profitability can drag. On the other hand, with too few resources, an organization may lack what it needs to reach the next level of development or pivot quickly enough to address ever-shifting market demands.
With all of this in mind, be sure to audit your people and other resources: Do everything and everyone serve a valuable and specific purpose that propels the organization further — and toward its goals? Remember to ask these questions at regular intervals, as your needs can change incredibly quickly. Especially through the Covid-19 pandemic, I’ve seen the healthcare technology industry shift rapidly and had to respond by auditing each department to see if we needed to reallocate, add or remove resources. Sometimes that means making tough decisions, but it’s all to ensure the company can stay agile and competitive. I often think back to this key phrase: “Revenue dictates resources.” We must be able to move aggressively toward our company’s mission without going bankrupt, and that means having the right-sized teams present in every department and through every transition.
2. Align your mission statement with customers’ needs. Your mission statement is the “why” behind everything your business does, and it should certainly be customer-driven. My company’s mission statement is this: “Embrace change, listen to customers and create telehealth solutions that empower healthcare organizations to deliver care through digital technology.” We heard from our customers that they value our ability to adapt digital technology offerings as their needs change, so we specifically centered our mission statement around that concept. If your entire reason for being as a company is based on what you hear from your customers, you will develop the products they need rather than just handing them the next impressive technology to come around. Providing that customer-first value will keep you meeting the fluctuating demands of the market and at the coveted top spot on the competitor list.
3. Differentiate yourself by wholeheartedly embracing change. We operate with the understanding that at least 10 companies are trying to fill our niche. So we try to realize the true benefits of everything we’ve built up to this point, and vow to carry out business better than those would-be disrupters.
Of course, the key to staying ahead of the competition is embracing change rather than fighting it. There’s a reason the first two words of our mission statement are “embrace change”—it’s a huge part of how the company has stayed competitive for 30 years. Over only the past 18 months, I’ve seen more changes to reimbursement, medical licensure and medical devices in this industry than I’d seen in previous decades combined. I’m paying close attention to emerging technologies (think the multipurpose healthcare devices that can serve as many as seven different functions). We’ve integrated these devices and other innovative tools into our own platforms. At the same time, we also made sure to let go of our more expensive legacy devices that will likely be obsolete in the near future.
Leaders who let customer voices drive their mission, organize their companies to deliver on that mission, and embrace each challenge as an opportunity for innovation will be much better positioned to ensure the longevity of their companies in an increasingly challenging, complex and competitive business landscape.