Change is the one constant in the world, especially for those of us in business. Change can either be a blessing or a curse for the business. For it to not be the latter, we, as business owners need to ask ourselves: Are we ready to manage or handle whatever changes that may come our way? Managing change, is about managing business risk.
The business owner:
Things for you, the business owner are constantly changing. You may have started the business, but now realise that you aren’t necessarily the right person to take it to the next level. Your spouse may have gotten an amazing job in a different city and you must move or; your health is not great, so you have to decrease your working hours. Anything can be the cause of change. The question is, do you have a succession plan for yourself or plan B, just in case things change? Are you developing yourself and constantly learning so that you are equipped to manage business change?
You may have an amazing team. They are hardworking; creative and just awesome people to work with. Unlike big business, losing a valuable team-member for a small business, can really have a negative impact on the business. How are you mitigating this risk? Are you checking in with your staff, and checking if they are still happy & growing in your organization? Do your staff all have contracts, with the appropriate notice periods? Do you have the right recruitment processes in place, so that when someone leaves, you can replace them with minimal disruption in your business?
Are you on top of business, social and environmental trends, locally and globally? Do you know what is happening, and how these changes may impact your business? Do you know how to pivot your business model, so that you don’t wake up redundant tomorrow? Do you have insurance to protect the business from environmental disasters? We saw the negative impact the drought had on our agricultural industry. The thing is, the impact wasn’t just on farmers, the decreased agricultural output levels, negatively impacted food manufacturers, retailers, and the end consumer.
Do you know what is happening with your big clients or customers? Are you aware of the business performance? What they are struggling with? If they are planning to downsize or even leave the country. Does your business have a diversified client base so that you are not negatively impacted when you lose one customer? Think of all the suppliers for General Motors in South Africa – how many of them saw a significant decrease in revenues, when GM left? Or service providers to Toys R Us, how many where ready for its shut down?
I remember getting the physical book of the yellow-pages or phone directory about 2 years ago and thinking, why are they still printing this? I took my book at put it in the rubbish bin. I was quite excited to hear a spokesperson from the yellow pages talking about their digital platform. Technology is the biggest business disrupter of this century, and I guess my final question for you is, are you tech-literate? Are you aware of the different tech and digital platforms you can utilise in your business, either to make your systems more efficient or bring innovation to your service or product.
Don’t be afraid of change. Embrace it and be agile in your thinking and business processes, so that you can quickly pivot, when it is required.
By: Nokwazi Mzobe, May 2018