There’s an old saying the goes, “There is nothing constant in life but death and taxes.” What it’s trying to say is that pretty much every thing changes.
The thing is, in so much of life, it’s up to us to decide what to change and when. We get to choose. For people who own their own business, or run an organization, I have noticed to distinct polarities in how change is approached:
- Too much is changing all the time and too quickly. The decision-maker feels that something is not working, and quickly grabs at solutions, changing the product, or the service, or the pricing, or the marketing strategy, terms and conditions, policies, whatever. Rebranding. Changing audiences. Changing team. Moving the goal posts.
- Rigid opposition to change. Even though whatever is not working is clearly not working, and everyone knows it, the decision-maker stubbornly hangs on, refusing to even consider changing anything.
Neither Approach Works
Constantly moving the goal posts and implementing one change after another only serves to confuse your audience. If they don’t get what you do without having to think too much, or if too many fundamental things are different every time they see your marketing or come to buy, they will just stop engaging. A confused mind always says no. Constant change that comes from a place of panic also breed instability in the business itself.
On the other hand, if you’re driving down the road and you see a bunch of signs that say, “Bridge Out”, but you just keep stubbornly driving on, guess what’s going to happen… yeah. A crash. Bad things. Business evolves. Technology evolves. The market evolves. Preferences and needs change. Founders and Leaders need to be prepared to change and evolve along with all of that.
So, How Will I Know?
Here are some things to consider that can help you know when it is time to change:
- You’re looking to the past instead of to the future: If you find yourself pining for the “good ol’ days” when things were on fire and you had the Midas Touch, instead of being inspired and motivated by the future, it might be time to make some change. What worked yesterday will not necessarily work today or tomorrow.
- You’re seeing downward trends: Hopefully you are doing regular forensic data analysis, looking at your marketing analytics, sales, total invoice values, etc. If you are seeing, month over month, a steady decline in any of these, you should do some market analysis and compare. Is your entire industry in decline? Is there a general market correction or downturn? What factors might be impacting your stats? Conducting some market research – asking current or former customers for their perspective – can also be very helpful in determining why the change is occurring. It’s hard to know what to change unless you know what’s really not working and why.
- Declining revenues and profits: Asa the decision-maker in your business or organization, you know you have to keep a close eye on the numbers. Work with your CFO or accountant regularly to watch for trends in your revenues, profits, and burn rate. Again, market analysis will help you out here, because it might be external factors causing a dip, which could be temporary, or it could be an evolution in the market that is more permanent and requires some pivoting on your part.
- The good old gut check: If things don’t feel right, they probably aren’t. You need to develop a strong trust in your instincts and understand when it’s fear talking and when it’s your gut. If you notice you are feeling, on more than just an occasional basis, fearful, anxious, frustrated and even having signs of burn out, you are pushing too hard to make something work that’s not working.
A Good Approach to Change
Knowing when to change is imperative to continued success. Knowing how and what to change requires more than guessing and grabbing at what you hope will be a quick fix. You hear me talk a lot about being strategic. When you know it’s time to change, take a step back and do some strategy work before you take action. Of course, I can help with that!
Let me know what you think, and… Stay on Point!