Profitability and sustainability require that a business be in a constant mode of reinvention. Change is most often associated with risk, but a business, no matter how old, must have the entrepreneurial spirit, defined as a willingness to take risks. The success or failure of such a business often depends on the ability to manage the risk.
Many of my articles have related to the importance of differentiation; this has to constantly be communicated to existing clients/customers and new prospects. One of the most difficult things that a business has to face is the reality that the original foundation, upon which the company was built, is starting to crack and new and different reinforcement has to be added.
I am often reminded of one such company, Kodak, which did not change as digital photography was introduced and went bankrupt. A failure to change, either by the addition of new products and services or the modification to current offerings, will cause failure, regardless of the company size.
Reinvention, change, also requires an in depth look at all the systems that operate within the business. That includes, finance, office systems, staff, marketing, target market, etc. One aspect that I also look at is the business owner’s acceptance and ability to implement the reinvention process.
Too many business owners have sprouted “blinders”; they only look at the existing operation from inside the business. It’s easy to become “over focused” on maintaining “status quo”, thus allowing the opportunities for change and growth to slip away.
There are several methods that can be used to overcome the inertia:
- Bring a fresh “set of eyes” to take you through the reinvention process, a coach/consultant.
- Look for that spirit of entrepreneurship when hiring new employees
- Take a day each week to work on your business instead of in your business.
Change is constant, and as such, it does not allow much time for study, design and implementation of new products/services. Throwing away the 8 to 5 mentality and adopting the philosophy of working with a sense of urgency, regardless of the hours involved.
Don’t expect instant gratification when the decision is made to differentiate, and don’t limit your direction to one option. Work on one vision but always keep an open mind as to the possible ways of reaching it.
Business, more than any other occupation, is a continual dealing with the future. It is a continual calculation, an instinctive exercise in foresight. Henry R. Luce
Nick J. Petra CFP