One of the most consistent challenges facing small business owners is that of managing change. Change cannot be avoided, however hard you might try to resist it. Gradually, if you don’t change with the times, you will be left behind by your competitors. Those competitors who embrace the changes demanded by the marketplace are the ones who will thrive. If you aren’t changing, you aren’t growing. If you aren’t growing, you are slowly dying. The market is the true barometer of how well you are managing change in your business.
If you accept that it is inevitable you will have to continually change to survive, then it makes a good deal of sense for you to make changes willingly and proactively. When you do this, perceptions about your company will change. You will no longer be one of the followers (or worse, one of the laggards) but one of the leaders. This is a great place to be when you are engaging with prospects.
Prospects want to buy from companies they perceive to be on top of the market’s needs and which have a good track record of developing their products/services to match the changing needs of the market. They want to buy from companies with a long-term future and who have enough understanding of the market’s trends to provide useful and valuable advice.
In addition, every progressive small business will implement changes designed to improve their business performance. These changes will improve both their efficiency and effectiveness – allowing them to do more or produce more, faster and cheaper than before. Other changes will be linked to establishing new unique points of difference in their product/service, designed to set them apart from their competitors.
Many of the changes you will implement within your small business will inevitably be brought about by developments in your marketplace. If you take the time to ask them, your clients and prospects will give you all the feedback you need to understand how trends in their businesses and their markets will impact you.
All you have to do is ask the questions, listen to the answers and implement the necessary changes in the way you do things. As a result, your clients will remain loyal to you as they can see you are keeping up with market trends. Prospects will be tempted to sign up for your products/services, knowing you are responsive to the changing needs of your clients.
If you choose to resist change, you will begin to lag behind your main competitors. It will be a gradual process, there is likely to be only small developments at any one time. There is no single point when your competitor leaps ahead. Eventually, you will see your conversion rate of prospects to clients begin to worsen. You will also encounter an increased number of your clients switching to your competitors. They will see more value to their organisation in switching to a new supplier than staying with you. You may be able to delay the inevitable through discounting – but this will adversely affect your profitability.
If you resist the changes that arise, as a result of trends in your markets, it will ultimately have a serious detrimental impact on your business.
- As change is inevitable, how can you turn this to your advantage? Can you build closer ties with your clients to learn about trends in the market at a much earlier stage?
- Look at your existing processes to see if any streamlining could be implemented which would improve your efficiency and effectiveness.