By Christopher Sargent, CPA
Senior Analyst, Valuation & Litigation Services
If something’s not broken, you shouldn’t fix it, right? If you’re talking about your business, the answer is wrong! Even if it seems like your business is doing just fine, you won’t continue to grow if you don’t challenge the status quo! You must instill a creative entrepreneurial spirit within your team.
First, don’t be afraid to identify weaknesses or shortcomings in your processes and procedures. Putting them under the microscope will shed light on what’s actually working versus what has simply and arbitrarily become protocol — or maybe outdated!
Create a culture of constant improvement. Perhaps you could dedicate monthly meetings to discussing areas in which you can implement changes that will make a positive impact. Be deliberate by putting someone in charge of affecting change. Appoint a Chief Innovation Officer (CIO) to develop ideas and long-term strategies for implementing them. This person could also help you identify these three important aspects of your business: what you should stop doing, what you should start doing and what you should continue.
Look at what happened when Amazon stopped solely selling books and started shipping CDs, DVDs, video games, groceries and more. Remember when Netflix was simply a DVD rental and sales company? Now it dominates the entertainment industry, producing original films and series that have won numerous Oscars and Emmys. Imagine where our culture would be if these businesses stuck to their initial services and never branched out beyond them.
On a local level, look at a business like Ash & Elm Cider Co. Initially conceived as a craft beer brewery, the business pivoted toward hard cider when the craft beer industry started crowding the market in Indy. In the business world, you can either adapt or close your doors. There’s always hope for successful adaptation.
In your own time of reinvention, you should turn to your customers. When was the last time you sat down with them and asked what they honestly think of your products and services? If they find them merely adequate, statistics show that you risk losing those customers to a competitor. Consider feedback from vendors as well. Outsider perspectives are crucial to helping you revitalize your business.
Don’t be afraid of change — embrace it! What you should fear is the idea of sticking to the status quo. So get back to the drawing board and start throwing bold, brave ideas at the wall. You’ll be surprised by which ones stick. All stakeholders will benefit, and your company or organization will shine bright with a new vitality.