These 4 areas of focus will help Australian businesses unlock opportunities in 2020

As local economies evolve with the impact of global markets and advances in technology, small business are increasingly open to more opportunities to compete with industry incumbents.

Looking to the future and how they can remain relevant and competitive, these business often discuss what strategies and key areas they will need to focus on in order to unlock opportunity and drive growth through to 2020.

The Executive Connection, the world’s largest CEO network, recently brought together 700 CEOs and business leaders from across Australia and New Zealand to talk about it.

Business Insider spoke to CEO Stephanie Christopher to find out what the top four areas these CEOs identified as target areas were.

Here’s what she said.

1. Disruption

“The environment in which we do business is changing and it has never been more collaborative, social and transformative,” Christopher said. “Business is no longer traditional, and this new environment is empowering businesses to be riskier than ever before.

“Disruption forces businesses to challenge, and change, how they think, behave, do business, learn and go about their day-to-day lives.

“Businesses disrupt to improve, and if you don’t improve, you stand still. While it’s not recommended to turn business strategy upside down in a quest to be a disruptor, challenging decisions, collaborating with peers and seeking new perspectives will disrupt the business model and change the way business is done.”

2. Leadership

Christopher says leadership conversations should focus on the context and perspective in which they set one leader apart from another, rather than styles of leadership.

“The role of the leader has changed significantly over the last 10 years and it’s no longer enough to be a leader in isolation, making decisions with little or no input from others,” she said.

“In the debate of collaboration versus autonomy, collaboration wins every time. Leaders who seek advice, new perspectives and collaborate with peers both inside and outside of the business, have a great opportunity to shift gears and accelerate their business and team towards growth.

“A leader’s ability to navigate the business through challenging times, keep morale high and create a happy culture for staff isn’t always easy, but being able to share experiences with others who have been in the same position will help elevate the business and differentiate from the competition.”

3. China

“If you don’t have, or haven’t considered having a strategy for China, it’s time to think about one. China has the second largest economy in the world and is increasing 7 per cent year-on-year.

“The positive impact of China’s growth can be felt across a number of industries and services in Australia, including property, agriculture, resources and technology.

“The Chinese Government’s five year social and economic plan outlines huge growth strategies for the market as it looks to source inbound investment from regions including Australia.

“By creating links with China, e.g. through The Australia China Business Council, Australia’s emerging businesses have an enormous opportunity to harness this trend to grow their business.”

4. Selling

“You can’t change what you sell, but you can change how you sell it,” she said. “Gone are the days where it was enough to build a good relationship with a customer to ensure they keep coming back for more.

“The ability to sell products and services is the lifeline of any business and leaders must consider whether their sales teams’ techniques are selling their business or product in the most effective way.

“Is your business giving customers new market perspectives and value they can’t get anywhere else? Are employees educating clients on new issues and possible outcomes no one else is talking about?

“Selling is no longer just a transaction, it’s an experience. The sale doesn’t end when the customer leaves with a product, or the purchase has taken place; it’s what happens before, during and after the sales process that leaves a customer coming back for more.”

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