No business enjoys perfectly smooth sailing, and no business owner has ever found that the strategy they came up with when they launched their business has proved to be a perfect guide to every unforeseen even that they encounter. In short: every business has to change. Sometimes it’s to survive difficult times that forces beyond your control force on you; sometimes it’s to recover from bad advice you’ve been given; sometimes you have simply been wrong, and you need to do some work to keep your business functional, but whatever the reason, change is the only real constant in the world of business.
Not changing risks the failure of your business, as you can’t respond to a dynamic market, but changing carries risks of its own: whether it’s backroom, organisational makeover, or a rebrand focused on your customers, there is always the chance that your plans can go wrong, and you’ll lose some important assets and advantages. Today we’re taking a look at the most important thing you can do to give your business changes the best chance of success.
Know Who You Are
One of the most important virtues you can have as a business owner is knowing what your business is: understanding its capacity for work, the skillset you have at your command, the values that animate and inspire your workforce, and the brand characteristics that your customers are attached to. Try to ensure that any changes you plan to make bring you closer to this core identity: that they make your business more itself. The Lego business strategy changes that have seen them cut nearly 1500 jobs and radically rethink their distribution have been aimed at simplifying the company and focussing on their core mission: to put Lego blocks in the hands of children!
If you know what your company’s core values are, and why your customers value you, you can make sure your changes emphasise those qualities. Changing too far away from your original brand image can cause customers to lose their faith and trust in you. A confused and undermined brand is hard to rebuild – in some ways it can be more difficult than building a new brand from the ground up.
When your changes affect your customers, make sure you have market research programmes in place to track how your brand is affected. Brand tracker surveys can help you understand how the decisions you take affect your brand, and make sure you aren’t undermining one of your biggest assets, as you attempt to pivot your company!