All businesses must change – whether shifts in costs, demographics, audience, delivery, production or practices, it’s inevitable that your business will need to change in some way in order to prosper in the long term. Businesses who refuse to be open to change risk failing to maximise profits, or even being left behind entirely. This can happen well before it’s clear that change is needed, so you need to keep an ear to the ground for the signs of a diverging market or business strategy. The most successful businesses don’t just weather change, they thrive from it – you can be among them by following a few key principles.
- Decide what doesn’t change. It may seem counter-intuitive, but the absolute first thing you must do before developing a new strategy is deciding which parts of the old one you should keep around. Things like a core business ethic, structure, market or aim, or any part that has proven solid over the years can be worth keeping – you don’t want to burn everything to the ground and start anew, as you’ll risk not being able to build back up again.
- Cut down on non-essentials. Sometimes the best way to streamline and refocus a company is to cut down on extra efforts that aren’t providing the returns they should. It can be easy for the focus to become too widely spread over several years of trying different business approaches. Diversification and trying new things is important, but cutting out the ones that haven’t worked is even more so. Cut these loose and focus your energy and attention on the most valuable parts of your business. At the very least, cut down expenses as much as you can even without affecting your core structure.
- Restructure and rebuild. Once you’ve decided what to keep, it’s time to overhaul the parts of your business that need to be brought up to date. Restructuring can be a hard process – habits are comfortable after all, and have proven successful enough to become a standard. However, you always need to be open to the possibility that there’s a more efficient way to do things, and seek them out and apply them as much as possible. Look for more efficient ways to communicate, to structure command and project management, to source your products, to market and to measure results.
Navigating change is an essential part of any business, and doing so successfully can make your returns even better as you discover new markets, new production techniques and more efficient methods of management.