Posted by Parveen Dhupar on September 24, 2018
Being a small business owner comes with its challenges, but none take up more consideration than keeping up with change. This affects all aspects of business and the cost can be astronomical. What do these changes look like for entrepreneurs? How do we deal with them? And most importantly, how do we know when to pass and when to dive in?
The Ways We Experience Change
“Change is the only constant”, and that is certainly true for any and all business decision makers out there. Big or small, our businesses are comprised of similar parts. For most of us, this is our team, our technology, services offered, or intellectual property and for all of us, our clients.
All of these moving parts experience some degree of change. For example, with our teams, people may come and go and circumstances change. For many, attracting great talent can be a full time job on it’s own. When it comes to technology, we are seeing huge changes and advancements at an astronomical speed.
Technology in business is rapidly evolving and there is always a newer, faster, or more capable device or software available. But, which technology is worth investing in and what is not? I like to consider two important factors before investing in technology. I consider how scalable the purchase is. Will my whole team benefit from this? Will this technology hold up five years down the road when my business has grown? If the technology has the ability to be upgraded as teams grow and business needs change, it is worth investing in. For example, many businesses track leads and sales by way of a CRM. CRM’s are often heavy monthly expenses, but they bring direct value to the business by organizing, tracking, and tagging leads. By purchasing a CRM that guarantees software updates over the life of my business, regular training calls, and an extensive onboarding program, I know that no matter how things change down the line, this investment will be protected as it is adaptable. Not to mention, behaviour tracking and automations built in to the CRM bring value to customers by way of constant, personalized communication.
Trends and Networks
In an ever-changing market, business leaders are challenged with the task of staying current with trends while also being cognisant of resource allocation. The team at BTI likes to stay current through an inspiring company culture and regular activities and exercises to keep the team sharp. TeamBTI believes firmly that no one person “knows it all”, and so we benefit from working with such an eclectic team with a wide range of skills. Once a month we organize a “Lunch N’ Learn” where the team enjoys a pizza and learns from one of their colleagues about trends in the industry or best practices at work. This way, everyone on the team has the opportunity to contribute their expertise, and we all stand to learn from each other. As a business leader and serial entrepreneur, I find that the best way to stay current myself, is by networking with others that share the same passions and interests. I am proud of my involvement with Entrepreneurs Organization Toronto, Mississauga Board of Trade, and Youth Without Shelter. My involvement with other industry professionals and entrepreneurs allows me to stay current on trends in my field, as well as local business opportunities.
Clients of a B2B business are of course, businesses themselves. This being said, these clients are also experiencing their own versions of change through the life of a project. Preparing for and responding to client change is critical, as it is what distinguishes between a proactive and a reactive agency. A proactive business strategy to cope with client change always starts with ensuring that all strategy is up to date and the next phase is already in the works. It’s very easy to let your team get caught up in “business as usual” and continue a repetitive workflow. But if clients are always changing, their strategy should be adaptive as well. Sometimes clients are not willing to accept change, or unwilling to deviate from what usually works- this is where an effective leader steps in and pushes the client to try something new. As leaders in our industry, it is our expertise that inspires confidence from our clients to begin with, and if we believe in the promise of an upgraded strategy, we should express this to our clients. It’s these small things that produce the most meaningful results, and your clients will appreciate this.
Change, or the prospect of change, can be daunting to any business leader. What’s even more terrifying is the uncertainty that comes with change. So how do we deal with this pressure?
Ultimately, by adopting a proactive strategy and attempting to respond to change before it happens, we can always be 10 steps ahead. By recognizing what change is necessary to react to, and what change one should prepare for, you will find yourself spending less time on trivial concerns and more on what matters. Change is an opportunity, and it can only be leveraged if you are willing and prepared.