In my last blog post, I discussed the importance of making sustainable, incremental improvements in your business. This concept is based on the theory that “slow and steady wins the race”. But what about making major, wholesale changes in your business? There are times when change should be more decisive, such as an instance where you cannot come to terms with your franchisor on renewal terms for your franchise. Do you just “throw in the towel” and close your business?
I know of an entrepreneur in the fast-food restaurant business who had a 20-year franchise relationship (two ten-year terms) with a major nationwide sandwich chain. When it came time to renew the agreement recently, the franchisor wanted to dictate some pretty harsh terms, like forcing a move to new location and adding additional expense items to the deal. The entrepreneur decided that he could just not accept the new terms. Instead, he re-opened his business as an independent sandwich shop and is now calling his own shots. The food, while similar, actually tastes better now! Long term success for him is by no means guaranteed, but he made a big change because it was right for his business.
Sometimes you must be willing to make BOLD moves to ensure the long-term success of your business.
Ever hear of the story of the tortoise and the hare? Everyone has. It is not a new concept to say that “slow and steady wins the race”, but many of us struggle with this concept in our businesses. Have you ever heard yourself saying “gee, if I could only get that huge project done (or important product out) then everything would be much better”? We all tend to do this. A surer way to achieve business success is to make steady and incremental positive changes in your business. Whatever you change, you must be able to maintain it. For example, if you are doing your own books and spending 3 hours a week on that task, then you are losing 12 hours per month to an activity that is not your core competency. Chances are, you could hire a professional bookkeeper for 5 hours per month and free up time for you do more selling, design work, or whatever your core business is. You must commit to this small change, or you will fall back into old habits and fritter away that gained time. Think about small areas within your business where you can improve your productivity, make the change and commit to it!
Have you heard about S.M.A.R.T. Goals? I think the concept is worth understanding.
All goals start out great on paper or on your computer monitor. You are excited about identifying objectives and improving the performance of your business. Often though, goals go nowhere – the reason this happens is that they were not set up properly.
Every goal MUST be:
Specific – never be vague with goals – make use of numbers like “increase sales 20% by the end of this year”
Measurable – if you cannot measure something it is extremely unlikely it will actually happen
Aligned with YOUR values – if it is not, you will not truly get behind it and follow through
Realistic – make sure you are grounded in the real world – “pie-in-the-sky” objectives are bound to fail before you even get started
Time-bound – you must set a specific timeframe for achieving your target
Did you know that change can be related to a mathematical formula? Gleicher’s Formula for Change can be life-changing…
Here is a look at the formula:
(D x V x F > R) -> ∆
Where D is your dissatisfaction level with the way things are, V is your vision of how things could be, F is the identification of small first steps toward the vision and R represents your resistance level (which for many people is quite high).
Conceptually, you need to work on V and F before any change is possible. The other critical factor, of course, is your increasing level of dissatisfaction with the status quo.