Article by Jane Tweedy, Business Advisor, Western Sydney Business Centre
The old saying goes: ‘the only things certain in life are death and taxes’ – pretty morbid I know! However, there is another certainty – change is inevitable. I’m a lucky one, as my personality type loves and embraces change, and I see it as providing amazing opportunities. I’m also fully aware this is not the case for everyone. If we recognise change is inevitable, we can proactively rather than reactively deal with it in our lives and business.
The forms change takes
Change occurs in our lives constantly. Every day we grow older and hopefully wiser. However the evolution can mean our bodies don’t physically respond as they used to. It can take longer to bounce back, and our tolerance to stress can reduce. These sort of changes tend to creep up on us gradually, and we often don’t notice until our body reacts with an ailment or condition we’ve never experienced before.
Change in our business can also be gradual, with changes that seemingly creep up on us, but were happening all along. For instance, our premises and equipment suffer wear and tear, and our computers become obsolete. However what causes the most stress, are sudden changes out of the blue – the chain that decides overnight not to stock your line anymore, the supplier who cuts you off as they’ve changed their strategy or even go out of business, or even, sudden unexpected (but let’s be honest, often overdue) changes to the regulations surrounding your industry.
Planning ahead and risk management
Rather than put our heads in the sand, we can plan ahead, after all we know change is certain. One way is to conduct a quarterly SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) on our business. Look at changes happening around you and adapt as required. Be careful of mislabelling as a threat an opportunity. A prime example of this was Kodak. Did you know one of their employees actually invented the digital camera? Instead of treating it as the massive opportunity it became, they saw it as a threat to their strong film business and shelved it. Kodak actually still exists but as a very small print and paper business rather than the powerhouse it once was.
Once we’ve identified opportunities we can act on those with the highest priority and the most promise. With threats, we need to assess whether each of those has a high, medium or low risk of occurring (likelihood), and the impact should it occur (loss in dollars, damaged reputation etc). Those with high impact and high likelihood must be either eliminated or mitigated to prevent/reduce occurrence, or look to turn that threat into an opportunity.
I hear the argument that if I train my people up they’re just going to leave me. So is the answer to sit with a workforce of dinosaurs? Of course not! Part of the growth and retention of your team needs to be upskilling them. Training yourself and any team therefore becomes a vital part of coping proactively with change. We offer training workshops in some areas to keep you up with changes, especially in the digital marketing space.
Need help completing your SWOT analysis, risk assessment or identifying what changes may be inevitable in your industry? Please make an appointment to see one of our business advisors for up to four hours at no cost with no catches! Book now!