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Content in this blog is reproduced with permission from A New Era Webinar Series. These webinars were created by Linzi Boyd, Darren Shirlaw, Sarah Skeats and Tim Dwyer partners in Business of Brand (BoB) in response to the recession and the changes businesses have been facing throughout most of 2020.

 

Doing Business in the 21st Century – What has Changed?

It’s becoming more apparent to business owners that many of the old 20th Century ways of doing business are no longer effective in the new economy of the 21st Century.

To move your business into the future, you need to look at and understand the business models of the past. The main focus of 20th Century business was making a profit. Business was sales led, often with a single product, and there was generally no consideration about the impact the product would have on people or the environment.

For example, they were looking at how to keep food on shelves in supermarkets by pumping apples and oranges with synthetic chemicals to ensure the food lasted longer. Companies were putting groceries into single-use plastic bags and water into plastic bottles thinking that was a good idea as it was profitable with no thought about the mountains of plastic littering the planet.

The whole business world was looking at the profit side of trading, rather than considering other commodities to enable them to make a change.

When you look at 21st Century business models of B2B and B2C, you begin to see people moving from a profit mindset into a purpose mindset. 21st Century thinking is a more balanced approach to society, purpose beyond profit and legacy beyond fame. People will drive an integrated approach not only to the whole of the business model but how they connect with other people and businesses to create the change.

Purpose is the new trading currency which enables you to look at your business model differently and not have to trade it around profit. Linzi Boyd has noted that when she goes to teach the younger generation, she looks at their business models, and says to them, “How do you want to want to build your business?”

What is happening with younger entrepreneurs is many of them are already operating entirely in the 21st Century paradigm of B2P as they sell their products through social media or online channels, as this is their natural environment.

People brainstorming in a workshop

Darren Shirlaw offers a practical approach to looking at how to move into 21st Century business.

“One of the key messages I can give you is that the problem you present yourself is the problem you solve; and the bigger the problem you give yourself, the bigger the problem you can solve.

Linzi Boyd and I love to tell the story of getting out of bed in the morning and giving yourself an hour to get ready for work. How long does it take you to get ready for work? Everyone says an hour. If you get out of bed and you’ve only got 10 minutes to get to work, what your brain says is how the hell am I going to get out of the house in 10 minutes, and let’s solve that problem.

What problems are you solving for your business today? Whatever you write on that whiteboard and give yourself as the problem, is what your brain will solve. In the 20th Century, what people did in business was mainly trying to solve the issues related to production. It was all about; how do we produce more and how do we produce it faster; how do we become more efficient, and how do we make more money?

In the middle of the 20th Century, somebody said how do we keep food on the shelves in the supermarkets longer, and they came up with solutions like wrapping things in plastic or putting chemicals in food.

And at the time, those people would have been seen as coming up with fantastic innovations. What they didn’t realise, of course, was the fallout to the human race and society.

And so what we’re looking at now is what are the problems that human beings are giving themselves going into 21st Century? And specifically, if you sit down and think about what issues are people giving themselves coming out of this recession? What are the change impacts that are occurring in society right now?”

BoB teaches 21st Century business practices, including how you move your business into having an integrated approach, where you can connect with many businesses around the world to drive a purpose. Not only from a silo perspective of your own business but how you come together as a collective to remodel the business model and create change.

The 21st Century is an exciting time to be in business. Yes, there are many challenges as we have seen during the lockdowns and their aftermath. But for those of who dare to step forward and be a leader in their field, either by pivoting an existing business or creating something new in partnership with others, the future is very exciting.