For most current and former business owners, you spend years and lots of money building your brand and cultivating a client base. So, if someone suggested you throw that all away and reinvent your business, you would probably think that person to be insane.
Well, maybe not. Sometimes it is smart to tweak your business model or maybe even try out a whole new approach. If you are one of those reinventors, let’s look at a few tips that can help you along the way to rebirth.
You first have to know when it is time for that change. Karyn Greenstreet, a small business coach, claims most people come to see her after they have been in business for about seven years. The first three years are the getting started years. Then comes a growth period for three to four years. Finally, many people just plain hit a wall. Their work is no longer challenging, or they want to try something different.
The easiest way to figure out what to change — and how much — is to work backwards. Do you want to spend less time at the office? Do you feel that opening up a fast food restaurant is all you can think about? (Now, all I can think about are free fries and milkshakes.) Once you’ve decided that change is inevitable, you must decide what type of change; a little tweaking or a major overhaul. Then the fun part comes. You’ve got to write a business plan. Sorry.
Then more importantly, follow it.
But in that transition period to get to your new normal, you probably should keep your first business intact. It will be like running two businesses at once. But it should be an easier transition for your staff and current and future customers. Unless you’re changing from a restaurant to a pet store, you may have some of the same customers….but maybe not.
According to “Competitive Strategy’s,” research, those companies that successfully reinvent themselves have one common trait. They tend to broaden their focus beyond the financials. Instead, they focus on tracking competitors in their industry, renewing their capabilities and nurturing talent. In essence, they turn conventional wisdom on its head and learn to focus on fixing what doesn’t yet appear to be broken.
I’ll probably never be able to turn the chamber into that fast food restaurant I’m craving. But the chamber, like other businesses, is always looking ahead to continued prosperity and making those hard changes when necessary. To all of us, happy reinvention!
Lynne Conlan is Executive Director of the Sun City Center Area Chamber of Commerce. Call her at 813-634-5111, or email email@example.com.