“The path of success in business is invariably the path of common-sense. Notwithstanding all that is said about lucky hits, the best kind of success in every man’s life is not that which comes by accident. The only good time coming we are justified in hoping for is that which we are capable of making for ourselves” – Samuel Smiles
Thinking common sense in business in a critical time as this, where lives and businesses would not be the same again, possibly allows entrepreneurs and businesses to reprioritize the needs and recreate disruptive markets that will impact lives. Ehab Atalla once said: “common sense is a skill to learn, and it is the foundation of all good business.”
Growing up, I always heard the most ridiculous byword about common sense often in response to something cockeyed especially in the senior high school: “common sense is common but not common to common people.”
Then, it didn’t make much sense, but now understanding the basics of what it means to possess common sense, even so as a business owner, it’s critical. As Ehab Atalla described it as a skill, every business’ basic focus must be built on it. Common as it may sound, it’s about applying practical intelligence -the ability to visualize beyond the normative and employ practical intelligence to a situation.
A good example is knowing when to apply knowledge to an average or standard situation – for instance, to protect ourselves from contracting the coronavirus, one must thoroughly wash their hands with soap and under running water, apply alcohol base sanitizers among other preventive measures. Failing to adhere to these measures because you have a stronger immune is lacking common sense, failing to apply common sense in response to an average situation.
Further, if a business owner or entrepreneur realized the need for nose masks and sanitizers, short in demand, it would reprioritize customers’ needs to recreate services that will serve business goals and purpose. This process is also known as creating a shift – creatively adjusting existing services or products to fit.
Common sense being a known term and broad to an extent, many people think of it as a must-have gift everyone is born with, but not everyone can have “common sense” – it’s not so common. With the surging global pandemic, businesses, need to think “common”, an indication of expected response to the crisis. Businesses must begin to assess and understand the pandemic critically and apply common sense to recreate what is necessary for customers.
All the applications and meanings of “common sense” including everyday usage, are interconnected in the complex delivery of what customers want, what customers prefer, what they need, and what business is willing to provide. The interplay between the meaning of common sense business has become a necessity in uncertain times. Hence, common sense isn’t commonly as far-famed, but just the name for ideas, judgment, and instincts – essential components in informing business offerings and products.
The need for common sense solution
Konosuke Matsushita described business success as “A natural response to a natural phenomenon – that is the secret of success in business and management. You will always win if you rely on common sense.”
How do businesses respond to the phenomenon and simultaneously succeed without losing themselves in the process of adapting to situations? Konosuke again answered this in another quote; “Recognizing our responsibilities as industrialists, we will devote ourselves to the progress and development of society and the well-being of people through our business activities, thereby enhancing the quality of life through the world.
Thus far, some businesses respond to the current pandemic is commendable, but are businesses doing enough? One of my favorite entrepreneurs and philanthropist, Mo Ibrahim also noted that; “the problem is that many times people suspend their common sense because they get drowned in business models and Harvard business school teachings.” Admittedly, I’m a buff of Harvard Business Reviews and some few complex business models I’ve come across – you can rest assured I’m not lacking common sense.
The need for “common sense” business in time as this is preponderant – even though there are no right foolproof to successfully do business, applying common sense to understand the peoples’ needs and how to satisfy them is all that business is about, creating, recreating, prioritizing, reprioritizing, and consistently offering value end products and services. Delivering outstanding solution is a common business, the success here is making it a common practice.
Making sense of the new normal
The world in recent times has been very loud in regards to the trend the “New Normal” – with businesses operating from home, to employees working remotely, businesses making shifts, and a new phase of doing business. Global business has the enviable task of creating a dynamic market in managing the trend and customers’ complex needs during and post-pandemic.
Aside from the change in business activities and operations, businesses also have to deal with the complexity of understanding the position of changing standards of the traditional business and consumer post behavior. The increased risk of higher AI taking over may result in a tightening of economic growth and a high standard of living which is likely to impact business negatively.
Making sense of this implies applying common sense at a reasonable measure where consumer demand meets supply with a favorable outcome. it is uncertain to what extent the “new normal” will affect business – thinking out of the box shouldn’t be composite and copied off google but reflecting common sense to the state of resonating with people’s needs.
It’s anticipated that the new normal and nCov-19 impacts, will be volatile for most of the year and mayhap beyond.
While this could become a change for the better, here are 5 steps to make sense of the new normal:
- Reactiveness – proactivity
- Critical thinking
- Applying common sense
- A fresh sense of responsibility
Open market and opportunities
“Business opportunities are like buses, there’s always another one coming” – Richard Branson. Sadly, It’s been a rollercoaster for Richard in this pandemic. Certainly not good fortunes for his bank accounts, but such a phenomenal entrepreneur and business mogul shouldn’t lose everything just for failing to apply a little financial “common sense”.
The ongoing crisis has revealed innumerable ambiguities and a lack of risky nature of many businesses. It’s said that conformists never create anything new – this is a lesson business must learn to aggressively explore the non-criterion.
The open market also may be criticized on the ground that participation may be limited or conditional due to various countries lockdown, but opportunity can’t be denied in this unprecedented instant. Maybe, it’s me. I do anticipate great opportunities for businesses and entrepreneurs in this devastating but full of opportunity circumstances – see it as the glass is half full. Business stories haven’t exactly been encouraging reading in the past months; layoffs, bankruptcies, revenue shortfalls, low productivity, etc.
But, there is a jackpot to hit if business owners can identify the simple needs of people during this time that can strike a chord with consumer “common sense”. Regardless of how you may look at it, though a pandemic, we can revisit some fundamentals about the most relevant elements of consumer target to create market opportunity. More opportunities around the globe, especially local markets will help promote business stability and security for everyone.
Reprioritizing and recreating
Accepting that standard model and conventional business activities are in serious competition with innovation is good enough for business people to consider reprioritization and recreation. Recognize that ordinariness no longer sells – to make a fit, there’s a need to prioritize the functionalities against the odds to recreate a balance for success.
The big change isn’t only the traditional business migration to online business and employees remotely working. For a much bigger win, you must look at the basic benefits and likely response of online business for your customers and activities – applying the “common sense”. Ultimately, while the definition of reprioritizing and recreating doesn’t imply a total shift, businesses must tend to sharply innovate by taking the risks.
Reprioritize business activities, business values, offerings, and customers – recreate these to innovatively face the pandemic
Continuous disruptive innovation and dynamism
It’s been a real challenging year for businesses. Many business owners would love to restart the year to prepare for this pandemic – I wouldn’t miss that opportunity either. Thinking disruptive is just the right mode for a fresh perspective.
Forward-thinking innovation could and can improve business statuses and economic benefits. What can significantly alter the way companies do business and also impact companies that weren’t prepared and unwilling to adapt to dynamism- coronavirus? Disruption isn’t what happens to your business, it’s how your business responds to situations farther away than what is already prepared for.
I’m not a fan of the adage “think outside the box” – I love the freedom to initiate, to create, and develop. To do these you must not limit yourself to thinking out of the “box”, just get rid of the box entirely and let innovation flow limitlessly. Let me provoke your disruptive thinking with Albert Einstein’s quote; “if you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got”.
>>>The writer is the CEO of Commec Group, a business development consultancy. She is a multiple award winning Business Development Consultant and a Writer. For business and engagements: [email protected] / www.commec.group