x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 29 July 2017

Complacency is the enemy when you are trying to make progress with a project. Constantly adapting is the way to keep moving forward.

Between now and December I have many exciting new projects to work on. One of them is work-related, in which we will be executing a new initiative. Another has to do with my writing career and collaboration with a world-renowned brand.

These new experiences will be a lot of fun, but not only because anything new in life is always exciting. This is also because such developments serve as a constant reminder to me that once we get stuck doing the same old things our skills and businesses deteriorate and, in some cases, become obsolete.

As humans, we are creatures of routine and are addicted to habits. Don’t get me wrong, some habits are awesome. Reach your office promptly every morning? Excellent. Have a health check every six months? Amazing. I wish I could do that. But not developing your products and services, and then wonder why you do not make more money? That is when the routine cycle needs to be broken and innovation has to kick in.

When I first contributed to a magazine a couple of years ago and helped to launch a new business segment, I had no problem receiving requests from aspiring entrepreneurs who wanted to share their ideas with the readers, and asked for interviews. In fact, we received so many requests every week that we had to push back some and postpone them for future issues. With time, the requests declined, because we did not develop our segment.

Now if my aspiration solely revolved around the fact that this magazine segment that we launched will remain the same forever, I would have failed shortly afterwards. But I knew better. We did not wait until the requests stopped completely and we had to chase people. Instead, we gave the segment a new twist every now and then, which kept our readers on their metaphorical toes. Thus we ensured that readership remained high and we kept getting requests in the mail.

It is important to never get too comfortable in work or in managing your own business. Always have new goals to achieve every six months, and review them constantly to ensure that you accomplish them. Once you start imagining that your business or career will always remain the same, that is your signal to change because nothing good comes of that idea.

Which takes us to this – always monitor the needs of the market and your customers and know the best channels to reach them. A few years ago,when an entrepreneur wanted to advertise a new product, the traditional channels were limited to newspapers, television, and radio. Today, what could have worked a year ago does not necessarily work now. The media channels and what people are currently tuned into change rapidly.

In the UAE, for instance, many small business owners switched from heavily advertising on Facebook to having designated pages for their businesses on Instagram. Six months later, I am sure a new social media platform will emerge and marketers and businesses will have to adapt, or they will be left behind.

Likewise, buyers’ needs will change, and if businesses ignore that, then they are poised for failure.

A lesson I’ve learnt and value when it comes to handling constant change is to evolve, adapt to change, but to hold on to your core values and vision. Do not accept work on any project just for the sake of expanding or promoting yourself. Instead, pick projects that align with what you are seeking to do, which would add value and help develop your business and career.

Lastly, when it comes to new ideas and projects, sit down with people and discuss your ideas. The more you discuss your ideas with smart people in your field of work, the more you will receive feedback on how best to develop your business or ideas.

The business world develops at a rapid pace. If you do not adapt, you will be left behind. The key to survival, therefore, is to be adaptable and be open to feedback and ideas.

Manar Al Hinai is an award-winning Emirati writer and fashion designer. Follow her on Twitter: @manar_alhinai