The Circular Economy Approach to Success: Revitalizing How We Do Business

André Zandelin CEO of Accus
André Zandelin, CEO of Accus AB

When you open the doors to your business every morning, what statement are you making?

Modern business leaders are striving to create more than just a brilliant product; they’re aiming for new ways to do business brilliantly. They’re making statements through their identity.

We live in an era where your actions and statements mean everything. The culture you foster. The identity you portray. The message you are relaying from management down the chain to your customer. How society perceives the actions you commit to is becoming the biggest determinant to success in every industry. When you hear of another company’s newfound success in 2019, you’re hearing about a company developing an identity that meets every stakeholder’s needs and society’s responsibilities.

That’s what André Zandelin, CEO of Swedish Accus AB, did to push his company beyond the threshold of financial uncertainty by doing just that – addressing change as a means to do better by focusing on key, implementable strategies that would eventually lead to the company’s nomination for Most Sustainable Companyin Malmö.

Along with his dedicated team of 18 employees, André sought to ameliorate the financial situation of his traditional sign-production company. The only way André saw fit to do this, was to completely revamp how they did business – redressing its traditional identity into something new, with a meaningful mission and vision. They started with a motivational revamp of their vision: Creatingvisual communication in urban environments with a positive impact on humans and the planet.

Little did André know, a small step like this one would be the catalyst to an entirely new way Accus did business.

“It has been extremely valuable to have Ouroboros help me carve out our new vision statement.. Now we have a new level of clarity and renewed energy to move forward.”

Prior to Accus’ vast transformation, André was only aware of the changes he can make to improve the business.Accus provided signage. And they always did well. Their team worked well. Their Nordic design inspired extraordinary products, too. But they lacked the purpose of a forward-thinking company functioning beyond the executive agenda. In turn, this affected the company’s ability to really connect with the world and, consequently, their customers. They engaged in projects misaligned with their mission and vision, which led to minimal revenue and a stunted projection of the positive impact they sought to portray.

Implementing the necessary changes would prove to be a complicated task… If implemented alone. His newfound energy and motivation, along with his desire to implement a circular economy into the core of his business, led him to work with Ouroboros.

“I had reached my own ultimatum. I needed to find a solution for how we could work with our environmental impact, while still creating business results, or simply leave and do something totally different!”

Through a series of facilitated workshops, André was able to:

  • Focus on key business initiatives as starting points for more sustainable initiatives. This involved a deep dive into the difference between executing and existing. Doing good vs. being good. This inclination towards sustainable practice that extends beyond engagement was crucial to creating a new, more effective business agenda.
  • Implement circular economy as a key business driver. The new implementation would also foster business practices that would create a positive environmental impact.
  • Create a more valuable experience for his customers. André and his team became more adept at spotting opportunities using a circular economy mindset. This would later become a game-changing development in the way they interacted with their customers.
  • Implement an effective buildmeasure-learn approach into Accus’ DNA. An approach that allows Accus to quickly develop new products, test them, and adapt based on the relevant data. Their practices have become more iterative – allowing for a more scrutinous process in understanding what works best among target customers.
  • Operate on a 20/80 model to doing business. By identifying the right customers to work with – Accus can focus on the top 20% customers that generate 80% of their revenue. This has created a better dialogue between André, his employees, and their customers, leading to better ideas and ways to solve customer needs. Naturally, André is now able to selectively work with the right customers and turn down others whose visions are not in line with Accus’. 

“Ouroboros’ level of expertise and experience combined with their ability to always step in and assist at the right time is what we needed to develop our business and move us forward. They helped us turn our hindsight into foresight, helping us to always stay one step ahead.”

With a prouder team, more focused business impetus, and stronger bottom line, André has empowered the business into new, unknown territory. The kind of territory where Accus would become a de facto authority. 

They’ve created a completely new space and position for themselves beyond just sign makers. They build a product with human health and wellness in mind, while also averting additional damage to the environment. Their signs coexist with the human conscious, creating a design that eradicates the negative effects of neon signs and blatant visuals. Accus helps build friendly urban spaces that foster mindfulness and peace through clean expression.

To take it one step further, their innovative efforts have led to their own innovative approach to making signs, RE:SIGN – an approach that reassures every sign is designed for full reuse, with reusable and recyclable components. True to the circular economy mindset, André is already on the path to early improvement of the process. The company’s next step with the RE:SIGN project is to make an actual design guide set to maximize the life of every sign.

Despite RE:SIGN’s new 2019 unveiling, Accus has already started pursuing, selecting, and educating clients. The company’s new, honest purpose is already helping the company outperform itself – resulting in its nomination for Most Sustainable Companyin Malmö.

And André? You might find him proudly providing keynotes on Accus adoption of the circular economy mindset and the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) for 2030. He has become the modern face of businesses that do good by being good. 

Consider and reflect

  • Who is the 20 to your 80? Have you identified the customers who trust you most with their needs? What would a circular solution do to increase value for them? And what pain points could you address or better redress to create the relief your customer seek?
  • A circular economy goes beyond the reduction agenda. How can you implement it as your driver for business opportunities and your tool to better focus on key initiatives?
  • How can you steer your circular projects by implementing innovation management instead of traditional project management methods? Are you testing your new products and ideas with your actual customers in a controlled, bias-free environment with measurable outcomes?