How to Successfully Navigate Change in Business

Consistency is key in business. Your customers rely on the same products and quality service they receive each time they enter your establishment. With that being said, being a business owner is also about flexibility, adaptability, and a willingness to change with the times. This can be difficult for long standing business owners with a strong customer base. Does switching things up strike fear in you? It doesn’t have to. That’s because there’s a right and a wrong way to implement change in your business. And here’s how it’s done.


Use Technology Without Sacrificing Personality

There are two schools of thought in terms of using technology. Some people feel that the convenience, speed, and endless opportunities that technology offers make it a must in terms of business. And this is true. While others fear that technology in business takes away the personal element that loyal, “old school” customers come to know and love. This is also true. So, can you strike a happy balance? I think so. Fearing technology could prove disastrous for your business. For example, if your business lacks a social media presence, that equals a missed opportunity to reach thousands, even millions of potential customers. Your business needs a website, and at least a Facebook page. Instagram is another great option for businesses, especially those that can display attractive products. Insta Stories are also perfect for interacting with customers.


But technology goes far beyond the computer. Implementing a POS system, automated phone systems, and cloud storage are just a few ways that technology can help your business run more efficiently. Just remember, outsourcing too much of your work will take away from the personal feel that your customers love. And, of course, the one pitfall of technology for record keeping is that when your systems fail or there’s a glitch, you’re at risk of losing vital information or experiencing a delay in customer service.


Capitalize on Opportunities for Growth and Expansion

Without change, there can be no growth. And not all change is bad. Although customers enjoy consistency of service, your business needs to grow with the times. And you need to be aware of and willing to accept the possibility of expansion and advancement within your niche. If your customer base has moved away from a certain product or way of doing things, you need to make the same shift. Are they using a new, more advanced product? Have their needs changed? Addressing customer need is your top priority as a business owner. And growth isn’t reserved just for your products and services but for your employees as well. This means offering opportunities outside of the required trainings. Here you can discover more about safety trainings for employees. But change also means recognizing individual employee talents and encouraging them to expand on their skills and use their creativity. You can support this by offering additional skills training and education for new policies and procedures. Ultimately, the more you help your employees change and grow with the company, the more it will benefit your bottom line. An employee’s longevity says a lot about you and the way your company is run. So while welcoming changes and new methods is a must, don’t overlook the dedication of your longstanding employees.


Save Time and Money

Money is time. It’s one of the most cliche but accurate statements regarding business. The more time it takes to perform a task, do a job, or deliver a service, the more money you’ll spend. When it comes to efficiency, you really can’t beat using technology to perform basic tasks. Whether it’s tracking and monitoring your inventory, creating automated ordering or delivering for customers, or implementing a new POS system, some technological advances just make sense. But the most important thing to keep in mind is that you don’t completely eliminate the need for your real life employees. Artificial intelligence in the workplace is a whole different animal, but it’s one that has people talking. Recently, many banks have replaced their tellers with automated computers that can perform all the necessary tasks real humans once did from making deposits and cashing checks to processing withdrawals. Although this likely saves the bank thousands of dollars in payroll, the cost is loss of jobs for employees. It’s important to strike a healthy balance between using technology to make your staff’s jobs easier and more efficient, without eliminating the need for their position all together.


Some business owners find it difficult to let go of what once was. The mentality of “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it” is prevalent throughout many smaller, local businesses. And although there lies integrity and tradition in this belief, you’re also running the risk of being left behind. If you’re spending countless hours handling your finances by hand or manually ordering products, you’re wasting valuable time. Whether you’re performing these tasks yourself or paying an employee to do so, that time (and money) could most likely be spent elsewhere, doing something more meaningful and beneficial for your business as a whole. Tradition in business is good. But if your desire to hold onto the past outweighs your vision for progress moving forward, it could be more of a hindrance than a help.


When the Economy Changes, Your Business Should Too

If you’ve ever experienced a recession or a dip in the economy as a business owner, you know that rolling with the changes in terms of the economy is a must. When things are good, business is booming. You may decide to extend your hours, offer bonuses to employees, bring in additional inventory, or invest in more extensive marketing efforts. But on the flip side, when the economy takes a nosedive, you need to switch things up. You can easily cut back employee hours. If this isn’t an option, make sure that when your staff is present that they’re utilizing their time. You may need to make changes to your ordering system by bringing in less inventory until things pick up. Try motivating employees with sales incentives. This can directly impact your bottom line as well by increasing sales for your business. It seems like common sense but it’s important to remind yourself that if sales are down, you can’t continue spending money the way you once did when business was booming. But rest assured, making small adjustments in your budget can help offset the dip in sales for a short period of time.


It’s Okay to Ask Questions

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Questions lead to examining the status quo and eventually lead to progress. Change can be scary. And some business owners avoid it at all costs by never questioning the way things are or how they’ve always been done. Unfortunately, this is a relatively close minded approach and not a stance you can afford to take as a business owner. Be open to different perspectives. Try to look at things objectively or get an unbiased, third party opinion. Remember, if employees or managers are asking questions, don’t take it as a personal attack. They aren’t questioning you or your abilities but instead, offering different ideas and suggestions for positive change. It’s important to listen to your staff as well. After all, they’re on the front lines in terms of customers interaction, sales, and the day-to-day routine of how things are run. They’re in the trenches and their perspective might just be the next great idea you need or the perfect solution to a persistent issue you’re having.


Without change, you can’t grow. And without growth, you’ll simply stay exactly where you are. That is, until your competitors surpass you as they navigate the world of progress and change in business. With the right approach, you can change with the times without sacrificing your business’ core values.


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