In business and in life, the old adage is true: the only constant is change, and when it comes to business, if you aren't growing, your days are numbered.
Growth is your only option, because no matter how robust your customer base may be, people move, preferences change, demographics shift and somewhere along the way, you will lose customers who will need to be replaced.
Most of us don't like to adapt to shifting conditions until we have no choice. But what if a big client leaves, a credit line is cut or an international shipment is lost and uninsured?
Having a "Plan B" is good in theory, but do you actually have one?
Having contingencies in place to deal with the unknowns and uncertainties in your company will save you. This means having predictive systems in place that you can rely on to support your operations, no matter what happens.
Most of the entrepreneurs I've worked with know what they should be doing but don't know where to begin. If you know you need to change but are stuck, here are some suggestions to get you going in the right direction:
1. Get your own buy-in to a bigger vision for your business. Your clarity about your vision for the future must be bigger than your dissatisfaction with the current situation, or you'll default to doing nothing.
Here are some key questions to ask yourself:
- What's in it for me?
- What's the cost and payoff for making a change versus not changing?
- Will this change help something or someone else?
- Regardless of how you feel, is it just the right thing to do?
2. Decide that enough is enough. That is how my favorite mentor, Jim Rohn, described how productive feelings can come out of disgust, and the attitude of, "I'm just not going to take it anymore."
Once you reach this point, you've essentially overcome your fear of change, which shows up to cloak our "fight or flight" mechanism.
If you find yourself lashing out and irritable (fight) or prone to avoidance and procrastination (flight), use disgust to move you toward your new vision, and you'll be better able to overcome those negative emotions (resistance) for the first steps in a new direction.
3. Focus on what matters most. My rule is systemize cashflow first, then profits, then team. So, get your sales going, focusing on new sales to current customers before new sales to new customers and start to systemize the process.
Not sure how to do it? Get help. Find someone who's done it before and use their knowledge and experience to make it work for you. And don't say you can do it yourself. If that were true, it would already be done.
4. Finally, commit to make lasting changes. Anyone who has followed the plight of most lottery winners has seen instances in which transformation and turnaround was simply too big for an individual to handle.
Once you've decided to make the changes you need to realize your vision, commit to moving forward.
Your willingness to make lasting changes begins and ends with you. Once you start getting positive results, that feedback is all you need to get the confidence you are going in the right direction.
Get clear about the vision you have for your business and the results you really want. This will help motivate you to make the changes you need to grow your business.
The author is an Entrepreneur contributor. The opinions expressed are those of the writer.
Brad Sugars is the founder and chairman of ActionCOACH. As an entrepreneur, author and business coach, he has owned and operated more than two dozen companies including his main company, ActionCOACH, which has more than 1,000 offices in 34 countries.