Despite every day for almost a year feeling like it, did you know Tuesday 2nd February actually is Groundhog Day? Originally introduced to the US by German settlers, it’s the day when people wait for a sign as to whether winter will last another six weeks, or warmer weather will begin to return.
We might be forgiven for asking whether lockdown will last for another six weeks but, as business owners, do we really have the time to wait for anything?
One thing we can take for granted is that things will change. The question is how. It’s a dangerous game for a business to stay dormant, waiting for normality to return. Echoes of the infamous Eckhart Tolle concept of ‘evolve or die’ are ringing around the business world. Thankfully, many businesses have been able to move with the times and alter their delivery methods or even the products they manufacture.
Four things to consider as you evolve for success
Let’s not forget, adapting to change is nothing new for business as the conditions in which we operate rarely stay the same for long.
1. Always include change in your strategy
My first tip was inspired by Intel’s Andrew Grove statement that “only the paranoid survive”. That might sound a little extreme but the sentiment is sound: a business should always be checking for new developments and competition and then planning how to beat it and continue to grow. Make sure this is a conscious activity whenever you are strategizing for the future.
2. Take your people with you
Winning hearts and minds among your team is so important. In some ways it’s up there with winning business and that’s because these are the people who make things happen. If you create a barrier between your plans for the future and your people, you’re setting off on an uphill struggle. Set a strong culture of adventurous thinking and communicate it clearly to your people. Set them up for success and they will reward you with buy in and enthusiasm.
3. Bring in some new thinking
If you are a fast-growing business, it can sometimes be hard to accept you’re changing. What was once your baby, a precious and unique startup idea, suddenly starts to look a lot like a million other medium-sized businesses out there as more people, bureaucracy and process threaten to choke your agility. It always pays off to take a step back in these situations. As owner-operators, it’s hard to see the wood for the trees so ask a trusted, external source to join your brainstorming and help you to think more laterally.
4. Just say no
Perhaps this is controversial, but businesses need to get comfortable with saying no. Let’s assume you’ve struck out in a new direction as a response to the changes in the market and a client comes along wanting some of the old stuff they’ve always bought from you. You should only accept their business if the old stuff remains part of your strategy. Don’t be afraid to say no otherwise you risk becoming a hybrid of old and new.