4 ways to future-proof your business

Starting a company can be difficult enough, but the real challenge is ensuring that your business stands the test of time. According to research conducted by Professor Richard Foster at Yale University, the average lifespan of a business listed in Standard & Poor’s 500 index of leading US companies fell from 67 years in the 1920s to 15 years in 2012. However, from my own experience as a business leader, I know there are ways to future-proof your business. Following are four tactics that could help you to increase the longevity of your enterprise.

1. Keep tabs on emerging technology trends

Technology is progressing at a phenomenal rate and so to ensure you don’t get left behind, it’s crucial that you keep tabs on emerging trends within your sector. By making sure you have access to the most up-to-date and efficient equipment and systems available, you can reduce the risk that your rivals will gain a competitive advantage over you. Making sure you have the best possible resources does require investment, but this will be money well spent if it prevents your company from losing relevance and being side-lined by more forward looking competitors.

2. Take steps to protect your brand

The internet – and particularly social media – means it’s now easier than ever to spread the word about your products or services and to build up your brand. However, the web also means that news of bad customer experiences can spread quickly. It’s important to take careful steps to protect your business’s reputation by doing everything you can to make sure that every customer has a positive experience when they deal with your business.

3. Nurture the talent within your team

Your people are your most valuable asset. Their hard work, expertise and insight could help to steer your business to continued success. However, to ensure you make the most of the talent within your team, you must take steps to nurture it. This involves providing people with necessary training, as well as mentoring opportunities, rewarding good work and making sure everyone has access to skills development and career opportunities. Doing these things should mean you are able to attract and retain the best people – and it will help those within your organisation to fulfil their potential.

4. Don’t let nostalgia get in the way of progress

There’s a certain reassurance that comes from maintaining continuity within a business seroquel pill. However, it’s vital that you don’t allow nostalgia to get in the way of progress. If your procedures aren’t agile and responsive to change, everything from your recruitment process and day-to-day operations to your marketing techniques and branding may benefit from an overhaul. Making changes to the way your company does things may pull you out of your comfort zone, but it could help you better reflect the current business environment and sustain longer-term success.

How to harness the potential of your team

My experience in business have taught me that having a skilled, dedicated team around you is essential if you are to achieve your goals. Without talented and effective people by your side, it can prove impossible to realise your (and their) ambitions. With this in mind, I’ve put together a brief guide to help you harness the potential of your team.

Invest in training or mentoring

All the best business leaders understand the crucial role that effective training and/or mentoring plays within companies. By providing people with all the support and coaching they need, you can help ensure they are able to perform effectively and confidently in their roles. These development opportunities shouldn’t be reserved for new starters. It’s important to offer employees and contractors the chance to enhance their knowledge and skills on an ongoing basis so that they’re equipped to be the best possible ambassadors for your business.

Reward good work

People are much more likely to stretch themselves and go above and beyond the basics of their role requirements if they know they are appreciated and will be recognised for their efforts. As well as praising people on an informal basis, it’s useful to have official procedures in place to celebrate good work, such as awards and prizes.

Across the global Appco Group network, each country hosts an annual convention to celebrate and recognise the incredible efforts of the independent field representatives and marketing companies in our network. It’s a great way to publicly acknowledge people’s hard work and achievements.

Providing people with opportunities for progression that reflect their diligence and skill is vital too. If your team members feel their input is valued, they are more likely to remain focussed and loyal.

Put effective communication procedures in place

Another way to nurture talent within your company is to set up effective two-way communication and feedback procedures. These sessions can help people to identify their strengths and weaknesses and foster a culture of accountability and openness. People are also likely to feel happier in their roles and perform better if there is an established system in place for getting guidance and feedback.

Your people should also feel confident about approaching their line managers, or others in their team, if they spot any problems. If they know they can raise concerns, contractors and employees alike can help ensure that any issues are tackled before they escalate and potentially do damage to your business.

Provide a clear company message

It’s essential to provide everyone connected with your business with a clear company message that they can relate to and support. When people understand that they are working towards a common goal and feel as though they are part of a team, they are more enthused and energised about their work – and you are in a much stronger position to achieve your business objectives.


Chris Niarchos is the founder and chairman of the Cobra Group of Companies, which includes AGS Global Fundraising Services. You can find out more about Chris Niarchos’ charity fundraising by visiting the AGS Global Fundraising Services website.

4 skills that will set you apart in business

Anyone can set up their own company, but it takes a certain type of person to climb to the very top in the business arena. Following are four skills that I believe help to set people apart as successful entrepreneurs. If you are planning to start your own company, it’s worth asking yourself which of these skills you already have and which ones need to be developed.


1. Excellent communication

Being an effective business-person is about more than having great ideas. To achieve your goals, you must also be a convincing communicator. As well as delivering powerful presentations to potential investors or customers, you will need to use language that motivates and energises the team you put together around you.

Don’t be put off if your communication skills aren’t quite up-to-scratch right now; this is something you can work on over time – and the more experience you have, the more confident and effective you are likely to be when it comes to expressing your ideas.

Many of the best business communicators were lacking in confidence and finesse when they first started out as entrepreneurs.


2. Foresight

Market conditions are continually changing, so to achieve lasting success with your company, you must have the foresight required to anticipate new trends and developments.

For this reason, successful businesspeople tend to be natural innovators. They are curious about what lies ahead and are always looking for ways to improve their companies and to address the challenges not just of the present, but also of the future.

This allows them to create dynamic, flexible businesses that are robust in the face of change. In contrast, those who are reluctant to move with the times are likely to get left behind by their more forward-looking competitors.


3. The ability to discover and nurture talent

No matter how talented businesspeople are, they can’t keep their companies running singlehandedly.

All savvy entrepreneurs understand that to make a success of their companies, they must put together a team of skilled and dedicated people generic seroquel. As well as discovering talented individuals, this involves nurturing people’s skills to enable them to fulfil their potential.

To do this, it is necessary to offer appropriate training and mentoring, give people attractive career development opportunities and reward hard work and success. Those who fail to understand the significance of discovering and harnessing talent can quickly run into problems.


4. Strong organisational skills

Knowing how to plan and prioritise tasks helps entrepreneurs to meet important deadlines and to stay on top of their hectic workloads.

Without a strong time-management strategy in place, businesspeople can find it impossible to deliver products or services on time and to the necessary standards – and their stress levels can soar as a result.


With decades of experience as an entrepreneur, Chris Niarchos at the Cobra Group has detailed knowledge of the skills and traits that people need in order to thrive in the business world.

3 ways to boost productivity in your business

Increasing productivity could help your business to improve its bottom line and become more competitive. But how exactly should you go about raising efficiency and output within your company? Drawing on pointers I’ve picked up throughout my career as a business leader, here are three tips that can help you boost productivity.

1) Empower your team

If you’re starting up your own business, you might find it difficult to delegate tasks. However, if you try to do too much yourself and you insist on being involved in all decisions, you can end up causing delays in the growth and ultimate success of your company.

To ensure your business runs as efficiently and smoothly as possible, it’s important to empower your team. Giving people enough control over their tasks and making sure they have suitable decision-making powers can prevent unnecessary holdups. Just as importantly, it will give your team members the autonomy and confidence they need to ‘get the job done’ and raise morale, making your office an enjoyable and fulfilling place to be.

When people are given greater levels of responsibility in their roles, they tend to experience greater job satisfaction. In turn, this can make them more motivated and committed to their tasks.

As an added bonus, delegating more of your responsibilities can cut your workload and reduce your stress levels. It also gives you more time to focus on setting the strategic direction for your company.

2) Reward success

It’s crucial that you reward success within your organisation. When people demonstrate high levels of dedication, skill and innovation, you should ensure their efforts and achievements are recognised.

People are much more likely to work hard and apply their talents on behalf of your company if they know they will be recognised and appreciated as a result.

There are many different ways to reward success. On the most basic level, it’s vital that you give your team positive feedback when they do something well. Beyond this, it’s important to provide people with opportunities to develop their careers and increase their earning potential.

Giving out awards and prizes to top-performing team members can also be an effective way to celebrate success.

Making reward and recognition – in whatever format you choose – part of your operating model should help you to ensure that people feel fulfilled and are productive in their roles and that you retain skills and knowledge within your business.

3) Put suitable systems and technology in place

It’s essential to have the right systems, processes and technology in place to enable people to perform their roles properly.

And implementing them doesn’t have to mean a massive financial outlay. If you’re just starting up your own business, it’s more important to establish great habits and behaviours that become ingrained in your company culture than it is to spend vast amounts on ‘bells and whistles’.

A complex intranet, for example, may become necessary to enable people to communicate in a large organisation; but in a small office, establishing a practice whereby people speak directly to each other is just as effective – if not more so.

Ultimately, it’s about making sure your resources are fit for their purpose, your people and your business – and that will change over time so be prepared to review things to ensure your company runs efficiently and is as agile and competitive as possible.

Heading up a highly successful international business Appco Chairman Chris Niarchos is a respected entrepreneur and understands exactly what it takes to make a company productive and successful.

Is fear of failure standing in your way?

As a business leader, I am well aware of the challenges associated with fulfilling your potential and striving for success. One of the biggest barriers that can stand in people’s way is the fear of failure – all too often, it prevents talented people from pursuing their dreams. However, there are ways to tackle this obstacle. Following are some insights that could help you to free yourself from self-doubt.

Embrace and accept your mistakes

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. If you test your abilities and embrace new challenges, the chances are you will sometimes get it wrong – at least to begin with. But this isn’t a reason to shy away from giving it a go. Everyone who has achieved big things in their careers has made mistakes. This is simply part of the process, and it provides you with invaluable experience and an opportunity to learn important lessons for the future.

Focus on what you can do, not what you can’t

Never ever sell yourself short. Instead of focussing on the things you can’t do, think about all the skills you already have and those you’re in the process of developing. It might help to start a list of the capabilities you possess and the achievements you can claim – big and small,– and add to it as you acquire a new skill. It’s a simple way to see the range of qualities you already possess and how many you develop over time.

Don’t compare yourself to others

We all have role models who can help us to channel our ambitions and stay motivated. However, it’s important not to fall into the trap of continually comparing yourself to others to the extent that you end up feeling inadequate. Everyone is different, no one is perfect and even the most successful business people experience difficulties and doubts. By all means, take inspiration from others, but forge your own path that is defined by your own goals.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

While it’s important to define your own career goals and path, it’s also important to reach out for help when you need it. This is a skill that every successful business leader and entrepreneur has to perfect. Whether it’s asking for support from family and friends or seeking out mentors with expertise in your industry, or simply delegating tasks, having an effective support network in place is essential.


Chris Niarchos knows what it takes to overcome the fear of failure this post. As well as building a successful international business from scratch, he has earned respect through his talents on the racetrack. In this Dailysportscar interview with Chris Niarchos, he suggested he used to be an “awful racer”. But through perseverance, he went on to achieve impressive results before retiring from the track many years ago.