Tips for Guiding Your Small Business Through a Major Focus Shift

Small businesses are susceptible to market changes, perhaps more so than any other enterprise since small-business competition can be fierce in all market segments. Ongoing success depends on how well your business employs a flexible business strategy to adapt to external threats. Most importantly, a time may come that you need to pivot, or change direction, and focus on new goals or alternative strategies. If the time comes that your business is in decline as the result of an evolving market landscape, consider taking these concrete steps for changing course.

Embrace a Flexible Mindset

Changing directions may not be a one-and-done concept. You will need to keep your antennae up throughout the life of your business since you may need to change directions more than once. If you have a rigid outlook, you may react too late. If you see change as a positive challenge and not a disaster you can approach the challenge with the necessary optimism and energy.

Evaluate Your Business

One solid way to achieve this positive, yet flexible, outlook is to look at your business objectively. Note the company’s strengths and weaknesses. By doing so you can develop a framework for working toward your new goals.

Evaluate the Landscape

Without a clear understanding of the dynamics outside your company, you can not address the inherent challenges and threats. To find out where your company fist into the big picture, employ various forms of analytics:

  • Customer Feedback
  • Marketing research
  • Competitor profiles and business movements
  • Projected Trends

Only then can you begin to identify specific, significant threats that may necessitate your pivoting. At that point, you can begin to outline various plans of action, from which you will choose the most relevant. You can also create internal forums for employees to provide their own insights concerning external challenges, a less formal but still valid piece of analysis.

Consider the Consequences

Map out all of the implications of your changing business strategy. Whatever new direction your company goes in has an impact on operations, mission, profits and other established areas of your business.

Provide Positive Promotion

Then you have to sell your new vision. Be upfront with employees, shareholders and customers. Provide a clear rationale behind your company’s big changes. When you execute your plan, clarify how the company, its individuals and your customers will benefit; make certain your employees understand they must act as part of the team during the transition.

Change is difficult in any venue. When a business reinvents itself, that change touches both the company and its community. While making a strategic pivot can be challenging, doing so with a clear plan in place can make the transition pay off in the end.

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