Making Your Business Great Again: A Three-Step Guide to Stepping Up Your Game
This industry has seen its share of ups and downs over the last decade, and some may feel like their best business days are behind them; but true entrepreneurs know that there’s always a way to reinvent themselves. Many factors can push a business owner toward reinvention—you may feel the need to spend more time with family. Perhaps market factors have changed. You may be looking for a new challenge. All are legitimate reasons for change. But it’s important to make the change thoughtfully, not haphazardly. Here are three steps to ensure you’re taking a more thoughtful route:
- Know Your End Goal
Is your end goal to increase profitability? Is it to spend more time at home? Sustainably successful companies operate according to a business model that can be broken down into four elements: a customer value proposition that fulfills an important need for the customer in a better way than competitors do; a profit formula that makes money delivering on that value proposition; and the key resources and key processes needed to deliver that proposition. Once you know your goal, you can dig deeper into the 4 elements of your business model to see if there’s a place to innovate. Perhaps you can think of a whole new product line to bring to your customer base. Perhaps you merely begin to take credit card payments online instead of sending invoices. The re-invention can be big or small, depending on your end game.
- Make a Plan
Even if you think the change you’re making is fairly minor, it’s important to have a transition plan. You’ll want to come at your change with “beginner’s mind.” Wipe the slate in your brain clean. Think through your new idea thoroughly, figure out who the competition is, what your costs are likely to be and how long the transition will take until it feels “seamless” both internally and to your customer. Then pull together a plan accordingly. It doesn’t need to be more than a page, but write down the steps necessary to make the shift.
- Take Baby Steps
Think of yourself as “exiting” your former business to reinvent your new one. You’ll want to develop a roll out plan that will allow you to test your plan before committing on a large scale. Your first idea may not be your ultimate solution. You may want to start with one new product offering–or you may want to sell just a few of your accounts to a dealer program to see if the benefits are there. After the trial run, evaluate your results and make any tweaks. It’s important to allow yourself time to train current employees on new procedures or bring new people up to speed. If you’re transparent through the whole process with vendors, customers and employees that changes are coming, they’ll be able to transition effectively. Take it slow and make sure everyone understands what’s in it for them. If you’ve found yourself pondering the next step for your business, just remember that “Making your Business Great Again” can mean anything YOU WANT it to mean. Following these three steps will guide you forward.