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The recent election shock in the UK has brought forth yet another important lesson for entrepreneurs, this time on complacency. A Prime Minister who thought they had this in the bag and that sending people to the polls was just a formality in strengthening their position is today wondering how did it all go so badly wrong.

In hindsight there were several contributing factors, the key ones being:

  • Not making the effort to really connect with the voting public by believing most were on their side only reaching out to those already on their side rather than trying to find out and address the needs of those who weren’t;
  • Underestimating the competition by dismissing them as weak;
  • Believing the polls that were telling them that they were comfortably above the other leaders in terms of popularity so didn’t bother to debate the issues alongside them on the same stage;
  • Not answering questions personably¬†instead, reeling of stock answers that hid their personality and humanness.

These were just some of the mistakes that cost an outright victory.

And these are mistakes not just made by politicians alone. In business big companies fail, industry leaders toppled because they have failed to keep themselves relevant by believing that because they have reached No. 1 people will still keep coming to them no matter what.

This is certainly not the case because once you reach the top the hard work of remaining there begins. Meaning that as an entrepreneur you cannot afford to be complacent once you become successful, there is always someone coming up behind, and now more than ever at a quicker pace, and sadly others wanting to see you fail.

So don’t get complacent by believing in your hype because that can change in a heartbeat. Believe instead in the work you need to do to stay at the top and keep working at maintaining that.

You can avoid complacency by:

  • Listening to what is being said about you. If is it praise ensure you do what you need to do to maintain it, if is criticism work to address and improve the issue.
  • Answering questions openly and honestly, evasiveness makes you distrustful like you have something to hide.
  • Not taking your customers or audience for granted.
  • Regularly conducting market research. Have your customer demographics changed if so why; what are the new trends that could threaten your business and how can you adapt or embrace them to keep you relevant. If you need some help with how to conduct market research for your business get a copy of my actionable Market Research Workbook to get you on the right track.
  • Knowing what your competitors are up to. Have they introduced new products, are they struggling if so why? Knowing this could be indicators of opportunities or problems affecting your sector enabling you to respond and position your business accordingly.

This journal is not about pushing a political agenda or advocating one party over another, but the state of politics today and the divisive, unsettling and life-changing impact shifting politics is having on our lives is something we can no longer afford to ignore. And the ensuing uncertainty means that in our personal and entrepreneurial lives we cannot afford to be complacent.

Keep testing, keeping trying, keep innovating.

– Tapiwa Matsinde

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