Why Change is Necessary for Small Businesses to Grow

by Stacy Karacostas

Is Temporary Insanity Keeping You From Growing Your Small Business? Most people are afraid to change how they do things in their business. They are comfortable with the way things are and don't believe change will help their business grow. But successful people recognize when things aren't working and aren't afraid to make changes.

Successful people, and businesses, recognize the need for change early. They embrace it. And they go looking for it. Because of this, they are also usually quick to see when something is not working and not afraid to change it.

You know the definition of insanity, right? Not the Webster’s version, but the other one? The one that says insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results.

I’d always thought this saying was mostly funny, and just a little bit true. But now I suspect that - based on this definition - most folks really are at least a little bit insane (myself included). And small business owners tend to suffer from this kind of insanity even more than most.

Let me give you an example.

I was working with a client recently who brought me in because he was not getting enough new clients. I spent hours learning about his business and creating a marketing plan based on his needs. I even incorporated a number of ideas he was already planning to put into action.

Then I mentioned that he really needed to define a strong unique selling proposition (you know, something special that - all other things being equal - would make me choose to do business here instead of with the guy down the street).

Now, mind you, I wasn’t suggesting he change the way he does business. Just that he needed to better highlight the qualities and services that made him different from his competition.

You know what the first thing he said was…?

“I don’t want to change anything.”

Of course, I’ve heard this fateful phrase shoot forth from the lips of clients many times before. Yet it still never ceases to amaze me.

After all, he hired me to help him with his marketing because what he’s currently doing isn’t getting results. Yet when I propose a very minor change in the way he presents his business - one that is sure to improve his returns - he immediately slams on the brakes.



Why? Because, like most people, he is simply not comfortable with change. But if he keeps doing the same thing, we all know what will happen. He’ll keep getting the same poor results.

If he wants to be more successful he has to let go of this insane way of operating, and stop doing things the same for no other than that is how he has always done it.

After all, the one thing you can always count on is change.

That leaves you two choices: let change happen to you, or make changes happen.

The first is how most people operate. They won’t change anything until and unless they feel forced to. Now sometimes, you can’t help it. Something happens - new competition, legal restrictions, patent infringement - the list is endless.

But even when the catalyst for change is outside your control, you still get to decide how to deal with it.

Do you avoid the inevitable as long as possible hoping a way out will miraculously appear? Or do you make a plan and take action as quickly as possible?

Successful people, and businesses, recognize the need for change early. They embrace it. And they go looking for it. Because of this, they are also usually quick to see when something is not working and not afraid to change it.

Bad employees are let go, products or marketing campaigns that are not performing are changed, improved or replaced. Life goes on. And almost always, they end up better for it in the long run.

Now I’m not saying you need to go crazy with making changes either (though sometimes a bit of a business-ectomy is perfectly in order). But you do need to be open to it, prepared for it, and always on the lookout for ways you can change for the better.

How do you know when you need to make a change?

Sometimes it is just gut instinct. But I also like to use these three rules of thumb…

1. If I have a number of months of data showing me that I am not on track to reach my goals, I know something needs to change.

2. If I find myself complaining about the same problem three or more times, I know it is time to make a change.

3. If I am presented with a better idea or system for my business, I always at least consider making the change.

If you’re really uncomfortable with change, or have a hard time letting go of things or ideas, start small.

Drive a different way to work. Try a new restaurant. Order something other than the usual at your favorite haunt. Rearrange your office. Wear a new color.

Whatever you do, make it fun. Before you know it, your business - and your life - will be growing and changing for the better!

Practical Marketing Expert Stacy Karacostas specializes in taking the stress, struggle and confusion out of growing your small business. She's the author of "Putting Your Business on the Road to Success", "The Small Business Website Bible" and more than 200 articles on marketing, copywriting, sales and success. For more information, visit Success-Stream.com.

 
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