Change is inevitable in any business and it is very necessary too. To ensure that your business grows, you will have to expand into new markets and this means that your small business must undergo huge changes. In a cash flow crisis or a move to allow the company to be more diversified, a small business may have to take on new partners, which may bring about a huge change in the internal structure of the company.
A smart entrepreneur is always prepared for change and ensures that all business strategies account for unexpected changes. Embracing change adds longevity to success. However, it takes a lot of creativity, perseverance, and a strong vision for the future, to allow you and your business to adapt to internal and external changes. The best kind of change is the one you initiate and control and that comes from within the company. Such a type of change is necessary to push the company towards achieving its goals and follow the path that you have envisioned for it.
On the other hand, lots of changes will happen in your company regardless of whether you want it or not. Economic recessions, changes in finance laws, new competitors, and the likes can all force your company to undergo changes to survive. Surviving through and adapting to change is always a challenge and you and your company need to make the best of the situation. Here are a few ways in which you can prepare and help your company adapt to change to not only survive, but also thrive.
#1 Get everyone to buy into the change
One of the biggest challenges that you will face as an entrepreneur when your company is undergoing changes is breaking the news to employees and all other stakeholders involved. You must be prepared for the fact that some or maybe even most of your employees will not like the fact that they have to face challenging times and wade into foreign territory. Stakeholders may become wary and lose confidence and you will have to face resistance and animosity. However, your job as a leader and entrepreneur is to get everyone to believe in you and the company and be excited about the new times that the company will be facing.
You should motivate people to stand by you when the company is adapting to the change. As a good employer, you should educate people about the challenges that they are going to face and how they can deal with them. Also, you cannot force anyone to do anything that they don’t want to. True leaders convince people but do not force them or control them.
#2 Figure out and manage risks
For changes that are both in your control and those that are not, you need to be able to map all the risks that you and your company may face and have a mitigation plan for all these risks. Being well prepared is the best way to adapt to a change smoothly and with positive outcomes. Get the best analysts – both internal and external ones, to calculate and find out the various risks and create a strategy or plan to mitigate, manage or even avoid these risks. All the employees and stakeholders involved should be informed about the mitigation plan and the risk factors involved and be equipped to handle them on their own.
#3 What are the key differentiators of your company and products or services?
In times of stability and growth, the success of a company lies in its key differentiating factors that help it stave off competition and gain an edge in often overcrowded markets. Similarly, your company will have some key factors that make it better than the others in some regards. When the company is facing imminent changes you need to list out these key differentiators and understand if they are still working for your brand and if they will continue to do so after the company has undergone changes. You will also have to figure out what new differentiators your brand will have after the changes and if they will be enough for your company to stand out.
#4 Build skills
Adapting to change often means that you and your employees have to learn new things and acquire new skills. In this fast changing world of business, skills become obsolete very quickly and you not only need to acquire new skills, but you also need to master them in a short amount of time. You and the people in your company should never stop learning and to facilitate your employees to build their skill base properly, you need to provide them with the right training and tools. Provide classes, reading materials and enough practical experience so that your employees can learn new skills faster. Giving your employees the opportunity to learn will make them want to use their newly acquired skills for the benefit of your company.
#5 Adopt new technologies
Often times, change requires your company to update the way it works to keep up with the modern times. Technology, when used correctly, can increase the efficiency of your brand and can make your workplace a more creative space. But this does not mean that you buy the latest hardware and software without testing them. Pick the most technologically adept people in your company and ask them to test out new technologies that will help the brand move forward before implanting them in the company.