Being ready for change means staying ahead of the curve, embracing new technology, conducting regular market research and training staff to ensure they are equipped with the knowledge and skills to manage their changing roles.
Change is constant when you are in business but adapting can be a challenge – even if you’re a start-up. While no business is future-proof, those that succeed long-term prepare for change and adapt as quickly as necessary.
Here a few steps you should take to prepare your business for the inevitability of change:
Embrace new technology
Every industry is impacted by technology so it’s essential to keep abreast of all new technologies that could potentially alter or change the way in which you conduct your business. New technologies could give you an advantage over your competitors or be beneficial to your customers or clients. Technology can also help streamline your systems and make your business more efficient. Although the threat of disruption from tech-based companies can cause fear among business owners and entrepreneurs, it’s important to find new ways to work around it or with it. A good example of disruption to an incumbent industry is the introduction of Uber and the impact it had on taxis. Over the past four years taxi drivers have implemented live GPS tracking and improved booking apps to retain and attract customers.
Prepare your staff
Change can be unsettling for employees so it’s important to create a culture that embraces change. Help prepare your employees for industry-related changes through the availability of resources and regular staff training. There are always people who are uncomfortable or resistant to change so assure them and clearly communicate the changes that are happening internally or externally. If you are in a management or executive role, lead by example and be positive about the changes that are taking place.
Conduct market research
What changes are happening within your industry? What do your clients or customers want? What are the opportunities and what are the threats? These are just a few questions you should be asking yourself when you conduct market research. Market conditions can change over time and regular research is key to planning for the future. It can help you gain a greater understanding of changes in behaviour and identify different patterns or trends. This may help you develop a strategy for change and improve your business.
Businesses that can adapt and compete with new competitors will likely be sustainable in the future. Conducting a competitive analysis is essential for business owners or executive teams. This will give you a significant insight into how your business is performing in comparison. Assess their strengths and weaknesses. Ask yourself how your business differs and find out about their marketing campaigns, social media presence, digital strategy (e-newsletters, SEO and website), customer service and any new products or services they are offering.
Sheree Mutton is a freelance journalist and the Founder and Managing Director of media agency, Reeton Media, which specialises in content marketing and creation, communications; and copywriting. She has written for The Australian Women’s Weekly, The Sydney Morning Herald, news.com.au and more.