It is fair to say that the last two and a half years has brought about plenty of change to our country, indeed the world. Whether you are a business owner or not, we all had to adapt and change to a ‘new normal’ as the pandemic spread. And even in the present day, the merry-go-round of British politics and the cost-of-living crisis is leaving a continual wake of changes that we need to embrace and adapt to.
Adapting to change is of course nothing new for business. Market conditions rarely stay the same for long and failing to react to changes in the market can be a dangerous game for a business, particularly in the current climate.
So, if this rings true for you, I would encourage you to consider the following four points as you evolve your business for success:
- Always include change in your strategy
This first tip is 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 strategising for the future.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.