There comes a time for most businesses when change is needed. Whether it’s launching a new product, implementing a new way of working or adopting different software, times of change can often be fraught with stress, anxiety and worry.
To a certain extent, it’s only natural to feel like this as this article from Harvard Business Review explains. Change can create extra work, it has ripple effects and can create uncertainty. However, having the courage to make a change (and to take a risk) can often be the catalyst for taking your success to the next level.
Look at the big tech companies. In its early days Facebook was a ‘secret society’ for college students, Google didn’t offer AdWords until 2003, and there would, arguably, have been no iPod or iPhone if Apple had not reinstated Steve Jobs as CEO in 1997.
And even now, these companies refuse to rest on their laurels. They are constantly looking at ways to improve, grow and develop. Take Amazon Go as an example, it’s a completely new type of retail experience and is light years away from Amazon’s beginnings as an online book store.
Yes, change can be a big deal but it can also turbocharge your business. The secret is identifying the signs pointing to the fact that a change may be good for your business and then, once you commit to it, making sure everyone in your organisation knows what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.
When it comes to reading the signs that your business could benefit from a change, here’s where to start:
Identify new opportunities
In this article, entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk argues that Uber and AirBnB should never have happened they way they did. He says it should have been a transportation provider who saw the opportunity for Uber and a hotel chain who set up AirBnB. He argues that their failure to spot this opportunity has led to a direct loss of their market share. Whether you agree with the points he makes or not, the lesson is that thinking outside of the box and actively looking for opportunity, then being brave enough to embrace the change, can be the difference between success and failure.
And remember, opportunity doesn’t always have to be focussed on finding the ‘next big thing.’ There are countless opportunities for everyone to take advantage of whether that be using new software to optimise your business or daring to do things differently, like bringing mobiles into the workplace.
Watch your competition
It pays to keep tabs on what your competition are doing. Firstly, by knowing what you’re competition are up to, you can make sure you keep a unique point of difference in your business. Secondly, if they’re doing something great, there’s no harm in you trying the same thing. Most fast food restaurants will now have touch screens for you to order your meal from, simply because it’s a great idea that works well, so it makes sense for them all to do it.
Know your employees
One of the first signs to look for where something might not be right with your business is your employees. If they aren’t motivated or engaged it’s a sure sign something needs changing. There are plenty of great ways to improve employee engagement and studies show these small changes can have a big impact.
Control your costs
Failure to control costs effectively, especially when fixed overheads are high, can cripple a business. By using a system, like workforce management software, where you can monitor how much you're spending, what you’re spending it on and linking it with your forecasting data, you’ll be able to make changes instantly to avoid costs spiralling out of control as has been witnessed in a number of high profile restaurants in the UK.
Listen to your customers
And finally, listen to your customers. They are in the best position to tell you what’s working, what isn’t and what you need to change. In a perfect world you want the best levels of customer satisfaction, high levels of repeat business, plenty of word of mouth referrals and a steady stream of new customers coming your way. To achieve this, listen to what your customers want and if you’re not giving it to them, make the change to make sure you can.
While change may seem intimidating, it can also be the best thing to ever happen to you.
If you think change might be on the horizon and it could come in the shape of utilizing a workforce management solution to optimise your business, then we’d recommend download our Ultimate Guide to Workforce Management which you can access through the link below.