Change is happening all around us all of the time and often with little hoopla – think seasons, aging and our outlooks on life in general. However, if a business fails to change with the times or keep up with what's new in its niche, such as technology, the effects can be detrimental.
Unlike making a change in your personal life, which can be done on a whim, altering the way you run a company doesn't happen overnight. There's a lot of planning involved. If management has a keen eye for what's popular or on trend and thoughtfully considers timing, staff adaptation and other factors, chances are that the impact of change on an organization will be positive.
Better Company Culture
Outdated company practices include keeping employees out of the business loop – a big no-no. When businesses are more transparent and openly communicate and collaborate with employees, company culture improves. Your staff should be a reliable ladder to success, and they should know that you appreciate them and that their opinions and well-being matter. If staff members are happy at work, it doesn't just show in their level of performance but often in the company's bottom line too.
So, rather than concealing how the company is doing, have annual or quarterly meetings to:
- Let everyone know if business is booming, and they're doing an incredible job or if business is waning, and you'd love to hear their suggestions.
- Discuss the company's actual financial numbers so your employees can see how their efforts matter.
- Talk about company prospects, forward-moving plans and the positive aspects of change. Doing so creates an overall sense of job security and reduces rumors of trouble that might otherwise surface.
A Healthier Bottom Line
Carrying on with an outdated service or product is financially unhealthy. Dated inventory, for instance, stifles a retail company's financial airway, slowly cutting off growth or even suffocating profits completely. If it's time for a product refresh, what are you waiting for? Swapping old, slow-moving inventory for more popular goods is a way to revive an unhealthy bottom line.
However, if your tired product just needs a little help, consider how a suitable change or two can make a big difference:
- Update the color. If you've been selling beautiful, hand-woven, forest-green tablecloths since the 1980s and have watched sales dwindle for the past couple of decades, it may be time to swap out the dark fabric for more trendy white or light-colored tones. A simple color swap can be all it takes to get a product noticed.
Rethink your target market. Makers of "mom jeans" targeted ladies of the childbearing age until someone had the savvy idea to promote the high-waisted, narrow-legged pants to teenagers. Then, suddenly, they made a comeback
possibly to the dismay of mamas everywhere.
* Hire influencers. A product that falls from its popularity perch could be a hit again if you hire folks to promote it on social media or their blogs. For example, the people who enjoyed streamers flowing from their bicycle handlebars outgrew the flashy accessory decades ago, but their children or children's children might be delighted by them if they knew they existed. Social influence can give your product the spotlight it needs to resurface in the market.
Positive Effects of Change in Brand Image
What happens when you improve the way your target market sees your company? For starters, by updating your office, storefront or retail outlet's style, you improve your shoppers' or clients' experience and make a better first impression on new supporters, which is vital to repeat business.
It's not all about looks, though. Changing your brand voice is important too. Maybe your mission statement's aim to reduce world hunger got lost along the way. Reigniting your passion and expressing it in your advertisements, your website's tone and through social media can turn heads in your direction.
Change like that won't happen overnight, but the fact that you're trying to make an improvement beyond financial gain should impress supporters and investors and inspire or reinvigorate your team to reach long-term goals and feel good while doing it.
Lorna Hordos is a home-improvement business owner and freelance writer. She has written hundreds of conversational business articles for WordPress.com, Bizfluent, AZ Central and Global Post.