[BUSINESS★] 5 TRUTHS ABOUT THE NATURE OF BUSINESS
(P1) I look at business in the same way that I look at nature.
(P2) In our four unique seasons there are many things at play as the world around us transforms with each season. The freshness of spring, the warmth of summer, the falling back of autumn, and the calmness of winter–all are signs of the NATURAL FLOW of things.
(P3) In nature, the most STRIKING sign of natural flow I can think of is a flower. A flower begins as a seed, and the STALK reaches for the sky in the sun, unaware of OBSTACLES or difficulties–it just keeps growing, MORPHING into a bud. Then like quiet fireworks, this bud, so full of possibility, finally opens, revealing its potential to the world. But the flower cannot live forever so, after a time, the petals begin to fall. The stalk starts to WITHER, and the seeds fall from the flower onto the earth, enabling the cycle to BEGIN ANEW.
(P4) In the beginning of a successful business, you start with a seed, maybe the seed of an idea for a new BUSINESS VENTURE. The “seed” then goes through its initial growth stage, overcoming obstacles, as it continues to FLOURISH. Then the “flower” begins to grow. This expansion stage continues, until the company gets to the TIPPING POINT of victory, namely, profit. The problem is that we never know when that tipping point is going to arrive. If we did, we could prepare for what comes next.
(P5) Here are five ideas to keep in mind:
(P6) 1. The reality is that the “flower” does not live forever. It has to run the course of the NATURAL EVOLUTION of business. To use the analogy of the flower, the “petals” have to drop off and die. The seeds must then become the fuel for new ideas and new growth, in order for the next business model to grow and flourish.
(P7) 2. Many companies get caught up in an growth phase, and they believe it will go on forever. The harsh reality is that it almost never does. Even the most long-standing, successful companies will tell you that, as time went on, they had to rethink and reorganize their ideas and BUSINESS MODELS in order to remain RELEVANT in the MARKETPLACE.
(P8) 3. The expectation from shareholders and management is that they must have continual growth year after year. When this happens, the pressure for a large BOTTOM LINE can become too great, affecting those responsible for the bottom line in ways you can’t imagine. And yet most times, those in positions of leadership in these companies try to take it on and cope with it all in the name of profits, whether it makes sense or not.
(P9) 4. In order for new things to grow, there has to be a SLOWING DOWN phase. It’s completely unrealistic to keep growing year after year. There is a “season” for maturity, decline, and re-growth in every business. It doesn’t have to mean the total death of a company once the company slows down. Even within the company there may be PRODUCT LINES that enjoy success for a time and then have to “die,” replaced by new, more relevant products that may be more in tune with CONSUMER TRENDS.
(P10) 5. How do you deal with a slowing down phase? Ask better questions and get better answers. Keep listening and do less talking. Look at what COMPETITORS are doing within your INDUSTRY and get even more inspiration by getting out of your industry and observe what others are doing. While it’s essential to be confident in your company’s future, change is always coming so be aware and humble, so that you can change with the times.
If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.
- Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
- According to the article, can a company continue to grow year after year? Do you agree? Why or why not?
- What companies in your country have experienced a decline in recent years? Share your experience with you Cambly tutor.
- What “season” is the company you work for in? Do you think management is “aware and humble” like the author recommends?
Expressions to Practice
“This expansion stage continues, until the company gets to the TIPPING POINT of victory, namely, profit.” (P4)
What does “business model”, “bottom line” and “consumer trends” mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.