To adapt the words of Marshall Goldsmith, “what got top companies to the peak of their industries in the 20th century is not what would get them to compete, let alone thrive in the fiercer 21st century market.”

So, what will?

Below are traits that top companies in the world, like Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon, have employed which undoubtedly contribute significantly to their world dominance and can help small business to grow too.

Technologically savvy

The 21st century is widely known as the digital age, technology is everywhere and is now the mainstay of businesses world over. It is one thing to be aware of the opportunities that abound in going digital and using it for business, and it is another to get the very best out of it. This is why top 21st century companies invest in:

  • Competent hands: You can never go wrong as a company when you have the right group of people with ample knowledge of systems and processes working for you. I.T professionals and digital marketers have what it takes to use technology to ease the process of doing business, and increase ROI by implementing various 21st century marketing processes like search engine optimization, database management, targeted advertising, email marketing, and so on.
  • Training members of staff: The world has gone digital and anyone left behind is a liability, not an asset. This is why progressive 21st century organizations train their staff on new technologies that can aid their business grow. They understand that better informed staff equal increased chances for business success.

Continuous innovation

Survival in the 21st century demands innovation, progressive innovation. This is because the competition in the market is stiffer and those who have the penchant of developing new trends, exploring potential strategies, and bettering their previous achievements, truly take the lead.

Innovation here alludes to various aspects of a company’s business strategy, some of which include:

  • Product innovation: Customers of the 21st century are hungry, not for one-off wonders or appetizers, but for products that keep re-inventing themselves each year. Product innovation raises expectations, provides solutions to present needs, and improves experience.
  • Customer engagement: The process of engaging customers in the 21st century keeps changing and organizations need to keep up with the trends to stay in business because without customers there is no business.

Exemplary leadership

Gone are the days when leadership entailed shouting orders from the top, giving directives and drafting policies, the 21st century has brought with it a departure from the norm.

A 21st century leader is in control but does not lord it over his team like a tyrant, he is instead the kind of person that works closely with his team, inspiring them, and working on improving their individual and collective abilities. He is aware of the stifling competition confronting the company and understands that his staff are vital to helping the company succeed.

Graham Hart, co-Founder of Mantle New Zealand notes, “Leaders like this are the ones that can keep up with the pace of the 21st century and still deliver, hence the need for every organization to train its leaders, and equip them for better performance.” Yes, such leaders emerge through training and adapting so that they not just perform better, but to also produce tangible results.

Passionate about growth

Every company that is serious about making huge impact, touching lives, breaking records, and even improving their top and bottom line must be passionate about growth. The bigger an organization grows the more influence, activities, and dominance it has. Growth here alludes to any of the following:

  • Opening new branches: To reach even more people and become more relevant in the industry, there is a need to expand, to build new branches locally and even internationally. The more this is done the bigger they get.
  • Offering a new range of products/services: Growing could also mean starting new projects, offering new services separate from the primary focus. A company like Coca Cola for instance has over the years delved into producing other drinks that have taken the market by storm.
  • Achieving set goals: Finally, growth comes when goals are set and achieved. This is made possible with the help of a competent workforce, strategic and research-based marketing plans, and doggedness to achieve goals against all odds.

In a nutshell, any business looking to thrive in the 21st century must be willing to live up to and even beat the expectations of the age. The interesting part is that any company can grow from being just a startup of yesterday to a world-leading enterprise tomorrow with a deliberate and committed approach towards achieving this feat. The traits in this piece should serve as a guide to reaching this status.