“It seemed like a good idea at the time!” How many times have you heard (or used) that statement to explain or justify a decision that has served your business well but is now holding it back?
Knowing what to change and how to change it is as important a business skill as knowing when to change and, most times, the owner has a choice to act now or to wait.
Relatively minor changes can be decided upon and implemented without much effort and these are often the ones that get attended to as part of the general “busyness” of the day.
The more fundamental (and therefore more important) issues tend to remain on the “To Do” list. Decisions involving restructuring, rebranding and re-education are always going to be more difficult and time-consuming but, in the end, will have more impact on the overall outcome of the business.
I have just been through this exercise with our business. After 30 years of operation, there were a number of aspects that were no longer appropriate to our current business so we undertook a 7 step restructuring process to address these issues.
The steps were -
- Identify the aspects holding the business back – Feedback from our team and clients was essential here.
- Celebrate that the business is developing and that change is necessary and possible – While major change is not always popular, explaining why it is necessary eases the pain particularly if the change is linked to development.
- Identify the most likely key changes required – Focus on a few key changes. If they are truly key, there will be flow-on but make sure the major decisions are not influenced by minor consequences.
- Package the key changes into a total offering that allows your market to benefit – Ultimately, unless your market benefits, there will be minimal benefit from any changes.
- Promote the revised package to your target market – Don’t assume everyone will “get it” on the first explanation.
- Make sure the changes are implemented consistently and comprehensively – Confusion is often fatal in any change process so presenting a clear view of the business is important.
- Review and adjust (if necessary) to improve effectiveness – There always needs to be a feedback loop but, on fundamental issues, there is unlikely to be major short term revisions required.
When it comes to decisions, there is no point beating yourself up over past decisions. Based on the information you had at the time, it was probably the best decision. Just remember, you can’t go back to the beginning and make a brand new start, but you can start now to make a brand new end.