If there’s one thing I’ve learned about being in business, it’s that there is constant change. In a way this feels disconcerting, but once you understand it and embrace it, it can be reassuring and promising.
Change is something most people fight or find uncomfortable.
If you’re running a business, often it can feel unnecessary or bothersome. But if our businesses never change, they are likely going to stagnate and get left behind.
Looking at change in two ways is helpful: incremental small changes, and large drastic pivots.
These are usually less painful and easier to make than pivots. They can be as simple as updating your website or they can be a series of small changes linked together to produce large change.
For example, we assist companies that want to move from desktop to cloud based accounting systems. This sounds like a major shift, and in some ways, it is, but if you break it down into steps and do one piece at a time, it becomes small incremental shifts that are more easily assimilated.
For the most part, smaller changes need to be happening all the time in order to keep your company moving forward, growing and succeeding.
However, if you’re in the final stages of your company and are slowing down and getting ready to close your business, then perhaps they are fewer and further between. But that is the exception.
Every business needs to be able to embrace change and utilize it to their advantage. In our industry, change is constant, and we must focus on continually learning new things in order to keep up and be able to serve our clients effectively. We are constantly making incremental changes to improve the company.
Sometimes, in business it is necessary to make large sudden moves in a different direction. As a former basketball player, these are clear to me but if you haven’t played basketball, you may not be able to grasp these as well. In basketball, as long as you keep one foot planted, you can swivel in any direction to be able to pass the ball wherever you want it to go. When I think of this, it’s easier to relate it to business. When you find your company suddenly stuck, unable to move in any direction (think can’t dribble and continue down the court) you must stop, pick up the ball and turn in another direction so you can continue moving toward your goal.
If you are suddenly faced with a huge challenge and must make a drastic change, then you must pivot.
For me, this happened when I lost my largest client. I heard shortly after that you should never have a client who is more than 10, maybe 15 percent of your total income. Mine was 25 percent. Yikes! I had to think fast and move faster. There was no time to sit down and think about what to do next. Drastic measures had to be taken quickly for the company to survive.
When this happens, you can’t overthink a decision or worry too much about getting everything exactly right. You need to be wiling to take a risk and worry about fixing the details later.
A pivot will frequently be followed by incremental changes. It’s impossible to get everything right when making a large sudden change in a new direction, but if you feel confident it is the best move at the time, then the rest can be sorted out and tweaked later.
Think about your company or the one you work for, does the culture embrace change or fight it? Do you as an individual embrace it or fight it? It’s important to learn to embrace it.
Change is here to stay, and it is coming at us faster and faster. The sooner you, and your company, accept this, the better the odds the business will succeed.
Learning to be constantly making incremental changes can sometimes help you avoid having to make drastic uncomfortable pivots. And sometimes, pivots are a huge relief, moving you away from something that is no longer working and getting you back on track and moving toward your goal in a better way.