Do you feel the earth moving under your feet? Every business owner is experiencing change. But each of you responds in the different way. Some anticipate and adjust – experimenting with new approaches and new processes. Others ‘hunker down’ and keep doing what worked, hoping that it will work again.
But the change is often so significant that ‘fine tuning’ what you used to do may not be enough. If you are unable to ‘meet your market,’ your company’s future is in doubt. Here are five ways change is occurring – some external, some internal.
Your Customers’ Buying Patterns are Changing Some are outsourcing, often overseas, products they bought from you. Some are abandoning old products and old production methods and no longer want the items your company used to sell to them. Or their product mix has changed and they aren’t buying as much from you that they used to.
Technology is Changing Your customer wants you to provide a better or different product/service - or produce it faster or cheaper. If you don’t or can’t meet their needs, they’ll find someone who will and you’ll lose that income stream.
Communication Methods are Different Face to face contact is still important to stay in touch with your current customers to understand how their needs and buying patterns are changing. You also need to be ‘out there’ finding prospective new customers and understanding how your markets are changing. In addition, you need to get the word out via the internet and the new social media. In addition to our web site, other electronic media (face book, blogs, newsletters, etc.) are essential to help prospects learn about your company’s unique capabilities.
Your Employees’ Attitudes Are Changing They know what’s going on in the world and in your markets. If they don’t see the company changing with the times, they get scared and start protecting their interests – working slower to make each job last, being unwilling to try new ideas, Or they leave your company to find new opportunities – often with the best people going first!
You Are Changing, Too Maybe you’re ‘running out of steam;’ losing your passion for this work. Maybe your knowledge and experience don’t match the changing world. Maybe you are ‘playing not to lose,’ no longer willing to take risks; not wanting to invest money in new methods, new equipment and training for your people. Maybe you don’t want to ‘get out there’ to meet with your customers and prospects – which brings us back to the first point!
The bottom line is that you need to ‘think bold and act bold.’ What used to work may not be good enough for your company’s survival and future success.
For you, the owner, its essential that you step back from your day to day problem solving and take a long term, big picture look at the new environment your company is operating in. And you may have to set a new direction to succeed in these new times.
Or, maybe, its time to face the fact that you and your company no longer fit in this changed world. If that’s the case, its time to transition into a new phase of your life: one that fits you and matches this different world.
Making that transition, as daunting as it may seem, is better than going down with the sinking ship!