Managing change in a small business: Why you need to be proactive - not reactive!
Alice: Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?
The Cheshire Cat: That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.
Alice: I don't much care where.
The Cheshire Cat: Then it doesn't much matter which way you go.
Alice: ...So long as I get somewhere.
The Cheshire Cat: Oh, you're sure to do that, if only you walk long enough.
You may recognise the above from Alice in Wonderland. It’s a great tale - but no way to run your business.
Yet it’s amazing how many business owners don’t know where they want to go. So it doesn’t matter which road they choose!
Consequently, they become reactive to change and often stressed out. Isn’t managingchange in a small business a better way to run things?
Managing change in your small business - before it manages you!
Most business owners don’t have the luxury of wandering aimlessly through life. There are many demands upon your resources, your time, and your decisions.
Without a purposeful direction, you become controlled by those demands, and your response to them often lacks power or purpose. It can also get very stressful as you’re constantly “putting out fires”.
Change for the better seems beyond your control. It may take a major event or disastrous outcome before you’re jolted into a more alert and determined state, where you can actively start to shape change.
To put it simply, you need to think in terms of managing change in a small business before it starts to manage you.
Why await the “wake up call”?
Your “wake up call” may be a critical event like a statutory deadline or a penalty for failing to comply; perhaps it’s a key employee taking extended leave or resigning; or the loss of a major customer or key supplier.
Many of these events are not normally within the control of a business owner but the impact can be far reaching and the consequences disastrous, financially.
Prevention is always better than cure and, while this has become an overused phrase, it deserves more attention than a raised eyebrow or shrug of annoyance.
In fact, it’s a wise warning. Although you may not have control over all events, you can create control over the impact that changes have upon your business. You can “insulate” your business form the damage by implementing effective strategies.
Why await a “wake up call” to be the catalyst for change?
Managing change in your business can start right now - before the alarm bells start ringing.
A key employee leaves: what are you going to do?
The impact of a key employee resigning can be reduced by effective design, documentation, and training in the processes and tasks performed by each employee.
In that way, when one employee takes extended leave or resigns, the business can continue to operate without detriment because other employees step up to fill the breach.
They can only do this if effective and well-documented processes make it easy for them to know precisely what needs to be done, why it’s necessary, and the expected outcomes of the process.
The employee will then understand very clearly what is expected of them and how their performance of these tasks will be measured and reported.
Instead of being unable to fill sales orders or produce goods while an employee is on leave, it will be business as usual.
Manage change for better outcomes in your business
Change, if implemented effectively, can result in more sales, better profit efficiency, and generally a stronger business.
Isn’t far better to achieve these outcomes without having to suffer the damage of an adverse event first?
But this will only happen if you make deliberate decisions to implement and follow up on change.
Working with an experienced advisor can become the catalyst for doing this. It can bring improved focus on what really matters and accountability to all stakeholders in your business, as well as the other desirable outcomes you envisioned when you first started your business.
Don’t be Alice, wandering through wonderland without knowing where you’re heading.
Be deliberate in choosing where your business is heading now and in the future. And work with an experienced adviser to help you maximise the benefits from the changed business you will build.
Contact us here for more information on how to do this most effectively.