There’s lots of clichés around like “change is the new normal”, but if you carry on doing the same thing day after day you will, in truth, be going backwards.  So how do you know when change is right for your business? It is actually quite simple. 

New entrants into your market will be bringing new practices and ideas with them and some of them will make part of what you do either a little, or a lot, less attractive.

Taking Stock

So how do you know when the right time for you to change is?  Basically, it is when your “numbers” tell you that you are stagnant.  No growth in turnover, no growth in profit and/or no growth in dividends (if you are a limited company).

You need to regularly review what is going on and see which product, or products, are growing and which are stagnant, or shrinking.  IF you are not doing this yet, start doing it now!  There will be many reasons why this is happening and not, necessarily, so easy to see it first time around, but you will need it to know what type of change is necessary.

You may have built your reputation on a particular product, but have you made sure that this product is one that is still fit for purpose from your customers perspective.  Dyson became known for their revolutionary design for vacuum cleaners, but the models they sell today are far different from their first ones.  They have also diversified into other products using the same principles as they did for their vacuum cleaners.  In fact Dyson is often used as a descriptor for hand held vacuums.  This is a fantastic example of successful change.

A Look at Real-Life Examples of a Change in approach

Home delivery for food works well for some products (or brands), but not others.  This is due to the process(es) they use to make the delivery.  Personally, using delivery for fast food depends a lot on the in-store process that will ensure the food is hot when it arrives.  Pizza outlets generally get it right, whereas, I am yet to find a burger outlet that works as well as my local pizza outlets.  I would really like the burger companies to look at their in-store distribution methods to ensure food is still hot when it reaches me.

Supermarkets have various options of delivery and collections without actually entering the store.  This is a huge market, but there is a wide range of option available.  Do you want substitutes, do you want to be able to refuse the substitutes you are offered, etc.  The list here is really long and those supermarkets that are the most successful are those that have the most flexibility (some of them even at the doorstep).  This process is all about customer service.  Increasing turnover efficiently relies on the service level the company wants to provide.

Both of these real-life examples will need each individual company to take stock of where they are, decide if this is still the level of service they are happy with, and then decide whether change is needed, or not.  It is often a cost – benefit decision, but it can be crucial for the whole brand to get right.

So What is the Right Change for you?

Many times, it is impossible to get it completely right with the first change you make, but things do get better.  The most important thing is to make sure you monitor the effect of the change made.  Only by doing this will you know what is right and what it wrong.

As long as the results of your monitoring shows that the change is achieving some of your goals it is worth continuing, but, do not stop here.  Try to refine what you have done to get even more benefit.  Part of your monitoring should be feedback.  It is vitally important that you obtain as much of this as possible.  If you find that your change is completely wrong, then revert back.  This is not a failure; it is a learning point.  You should do as much review of this as a successful change.  It could highlight that your staff do not understand the change, so up-skilling your staff might make a huge difference.

This moves us on to the final point.  If you haven’t worked it our by now, communication is the most important thing when it comes to change.  Asking questions (of friends and clients) is as important as the research about new technologies, or process refinement.  Those closest to you may say  things like, “I would love you to…”, or “It would be better if you would…”, or even “I would be happier of you would…”.  Listen to these.  Find out how easy it would be to change to meet one of these things.  It could be the start of moving from good to great.

There is so much more information available, some of it very detailed.  Please look through the other blogs and see if the information you want is provided.

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