Are Great Ideas Enough ?

The pandemic has been a wrecking ball for global business. With the travel and hospitality industry having been hit particularly hard. However the pandemic has also created an explosion in global business innovation. At the same time demands from customers have shifted, and now look vastly different from before the pandemic – especially in regard to ecommerce.

Every market and sector is transforming, rethinking and reorienting.

Globally entrepreneurs are seeing opportunity in this new landscape, whilst many established businesses see only challenges. Entrepreneurs know this is the ideal time to build new products and services, breaking away from the way things used to be and work. But a great idea alone is not enough in this changed landscape.

Things are different

Before the pandemic consumers were already thinking and exploring products and services that were more closely aligned with their personal values. Seeking out services and products that not only simplified their lives but improved them. Before the pandemic, in 2018 Accenture carried out a survey, which already showed that 63% of consumers preferred to buy from a business who stood for a purpose which mirrored their own values or beliefs.

The pandemic challenged these values, testing consumers, facing uncertainty and difficulties that they have never encountered before, it gave time for consumers to consider what really mattered most to them, in a way that they had not been able to since the end of the second wold war. Many of their ideals were confirmed, whilst others were set aside. Buying fresh food, for example, now has a higher priority than the latest tech gadget. We’re seeing that what mattered before the pandemic may not matter as much afterwards, and the core values of a business, its people, products and services are under the spotlight more than ever before.

This type of moral adjustment has been seen before in our recent history, including the Second World War where the roles played by women helped to pave the way for future changes in society.

Covid-19 is different. For the first time in our history opportunities are truly global, with easy and cheap access to technology. Your can work from just about anywhere, for almost anyone, with anyone. After months of self isolation, being unable to mix with friends, family or colleagues, we have to consider how much technology will be involved in building new relationships in the future.

This new global ecosystem has created a need for entrepreneurs to be more ethical and discerning about their decisions, people, products and services than ever before.

What can you do to help your venture succeed – with ethics?

  1. Collect feedback, in real-time

    Surveys, interviews, conversations, engage in social media – real-time feedback shows you where the pain points are. It’ll validate that your decision making is not based only on assumptions and will allow you to measure your culture and ethics across different products, services and people. Don’t forget to collect feedback throughout the whole of your customer and employee journeys.

  2. Make it easier to communicate

    Your ethical values can be difficult to integrate into your culture and operations, and it can too often be difficult for your personnel to raise ethical issues with you. You need to be clear about what you consider to be ethical behaviour and act when people push boundaries that breach your ethics.

    Open, transparent communication like newsletters, meetings and anonymous reporting can help. Making your messages clear in conversation and written communications – what you expect, what is acceptable, and what is not.

  3. Be clear in your vision

    Your Vision statement should be connected with your ethics. Startups rarely have this clarity of perspective, and their vision is subject to change. Publishing a clear vision statement makes it easier for customers and employees to understand your ethics and goals – and why they are important to you. Hone your statement – use it and use it repeatedly. Normalising your vision into your everyday operations will help the adoption of your ethics and give a wider sense of purpose.

Customer priorities are not the same. The pandemic has shifted priorities and behaviour. Customers are demanding integrity from the businesses they interact with. Whether you align your ethics with those of your customers, or use your ethics to make is easier for customers and employees to identify with you – demonstrate your values are core in all of your activity.