A wise man once said "change is the only constant in life," and that philosophy is just as true today as it was thousands of years ago. It’s especially important for business owners, because the only way for a company to have long-term success is through adapting with the times. By understanding how to lead your business through major changes, you can keep it going strong before, during, and after.
Embracing Change Creates Continued Success for Your Business
While being able to evolve has always been instrumental in a company’s success, it’s even more important because of how connected the world is now. With greater global competition and consumers who have more buying options than ever before, companies that are complacent can find it difficult to stay in business.
Building a successful business is an impressive accomplishment, and embracing change can make all the difference in keeping that success going. Just look at the major retailers that went bankrupt because they never updated their business models or waited until it was too late.
The good news is that this is one area where small businesses have an edge over larger ones. With less red tape to cut through, you can handle the change management responsibilities yourself and put plans into action instead of running them by all kinds of different departments first.
How to Effectively Lead Your Company Through a Change
Before you get started on changing your business, you should have a good reason for the change and a clear vision for where you want your company to be afterwards. For example, if you currently own a brick-and-mortar store, you may decide that you need to build an eCommerce site so that you don’t miss out on that online market, or you could choose to alter your business model before it becomes outdated.
While taking your company through a significant change can be a challenge, there are a few ways you can make it easier:
- Put together a detailed plan covering how this change is going to work for every department
- Focus on taking small steps in the right direction instead of altering your whole business overnight
- Communicate openly with your employees regarding what’s going to happen and why
- Prepare for any extra expenses or cash flow shortages your business could have
For your plan to work, it needs to cover every detail and have actionable steps your employees can follow. The earlier you bring your employees on board with what you’re planning, the better. You don’t want people hearing about potential changes through the rumour mill, which can impact employee morale as your business evolves. Strong leadership is critical to keep your employees motivated and confident in their job security during times of change. Some employees are going to wish things could just stay the same way, and it’s up to you to help them realize that this change is for the better.
Financial issues are common for businesses going through a change. Your company may have more expenses than usual or need to get by on lower revenues during this time. Make sure you plan for this so you don’t run out of money when you’re trying to take a step forward with your business.
It’s always easier to stick with the status quo than to do something different, but lasting success in business requires a forward-thinking mindset and a willingness to shake things up sometimes.