Cracking the code for business evolution

Every successful business and business owner throughout history has been able to either set trends or follow them.

Cracking the code for business evolution

Every successful business and business owner throughout history has been able to either set trends or follow them. The modern business and social landscapes are ever-changing, so recognising and reacting quickly to trends and feedback is more crucial than ever. Here, Justin Nihiser, CEO of Code Ninjas, the international coding franchise for kids, talks about the importance of having structures in place for an innovative business that can easily move with the times.

When Code Ninjas launched back in 2016, we had a very clear set of goals and shared passion for providing kids with an opportunity to learn to code – this was consistently set out across our whole network. It has garnered us great success but recently we have realised that to galvanise our business, we can’t keep doing the same thing when the world around us has evolved so much. This is especially true with the pandemic which impacted everyone’s lives but the effect on children was perhaps the most damaging. Certainly it has proven to be the most urgent to address going forward. Because of this, we were keen to understand whether or not parents’ reasoning for sending their children to our sessions had changed too – and if they had, what could we do to improve the business and our overall offering?  

A 2021 survey conducted with 2,000 parents found that 62% didn’t think their child would be able to pick up where they left off socially on their return to school after lockdown1. Specifically, parents were worried that their children wouldn’t be keen on making conversation with friends, meeting new people, or remembering basic manners. In the past few years, Code Ninjas’ primary focus has been on the education of children and the development of STEM skills (science, technology, engineering and maths). But based on the current trajectory of what parents are looking to give their children when choosing extra-curricular activities, we realised that our priorities going forward must include highlighting to parents the sociability, confidence building, collaboration and fun that we implement in every Code Ninjas session. 

That means a change in message within our general communication as well as marketing efforts. These can only come about with a strategic lead and a network trusting this is a positive direction to move towards. At Code Ninjas, we pride ourselves on great inter-connectivity, seeing consistent communication feed through every level of our organisation. What we had gathered from our own market research, as well as our recognition of a shifting trend, led us to make genuine changes to our business. 

The survey also found that 81% of parents think schools should implement more activities that encourage and teach social skills1. Although this was already a big part of our mantra and values, we decided to place even more prominence on it – with a new curriculum set to be released later this year.

Parents that encourage their children to enjoy a true variety of activities and pastimes are really giving them the best opportunity to explore their passions. So, as much as a dad might have grand aspirations that his child will be the next Lionel Messi, football might just not be for him. It’s crucial that parents feel comfortable to let their child explore their own passions and interests, regardless of the path they hope their offspring will take. 

Similarly, businesses must be able to come to such realisations and be prepared to adapt for the good of everyone. This can only happen when a network is well connected and is regularly communicating with each other – achieving intended outcomes is made much easier when everyone is on the same page. 

Having an awareness of the customers’ need and wants is a fundamental component of any brand’s success, and the feedback we regularly gain from our network is one of the most important resources at our disposal. At Code Ninjas, consumer feedback is not only taken on board, but acted upon to ensure the continued progression and improvement of our business model.

Justin Nihiser
Justin Nihiser