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Business “Realities” That May Not Be So Certain Anymore


Anyone who wants their business to be successful will not be hesitant about welcoming advice from a wide range of sources. It is never easy to make your business dreams into a reality, and it only makes sense that you’ll be ready to listen out for useful information. However – and there always is a “however” – it pays to be cautious about which advice you listen to. There is no doubt that business has its classic adages, and the inconvenient truth is that some of those adages have been found wanting over time.

This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t listen out for advice. It’s not realistic to imagine you have all the answers, but when it comes to hearing out people who are giving you advice, it is sensible to evaluate that advice on the basis of the here and now. Sometimes, you will be offered insight into your business journey by someone who made the same journey decades ago. While they are sure to have some gems of wisdom worth listening to, it is always worth acknowledging that they made their first strides in business during a very different era. A lot of business realities that we have taken for granted are no longer so certain.

Marketing doesn’t matter more than product

It’s long been suspected that you can sell anything to anyone if you put a perfect enough sheen on it in the marketing phase. In some cases, businesses have even privately acknowledged a weakness in their product which they put a positive light on in the marketing phase. We’ve all viewed a cramped, pokey apartment which the agent described as “cosy” or “intimate”, for example. However, any good business agency will tell you that consumers are smarter than they have ever been. The digital age means consumers can share knowledge more swiftly than ever – so it’s not smart to cover flaws with marketing-speak.

It’s not always smart to keep a lean workforce

Around the time of the global banking crisis, the smartest people in the boardrooms up and down the country, and around the world, preached the wisdom of keeping things lean, austere and agile. The upshot of this advice was a lot of businesses trimming what they deemed to be unnecessary fat in their workforce. After all, the fewer people you’re paying, the easier it is to deal with trying economic times, right? Well, the next financial crisis was as a result of the pandemic, and the onset of increased demand – alongside the very real threat of losing staff members in the short or long term – saw many businesses struggling to cope. Don’t take on more staff than you can afford, but don’t cut resources either.

Letting them know who’s boss doesn’t mean intimidating them

It’s somehow still a thing in 2023 that leading CEOs are cultivating the image of someone that tells their staff “Around here, we do things my way, and if you don’t like it, there’s the door”. There’s nothing wrong with having rules and sticking to them, but rest assured that people know where the door is and will use it if you’re unreasonable. Intimidation does not derive the results it used to, and it wouldn’t be the right way even if it did. If you want people to respect you as a boss, then explain why you’re overruling them when you do. “Because I said so barely works on toddlers anymore, and if you talk down to workers, they will feel anything but loyal to you.

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