Small business owners operating today have felt the sting of change and the pressure of the economic impact. No matter what plans were made in 2006 for growth and prosperity, the economic downfall of 2007 forced every small business owner to evaluate and re-evaluate plans and cope with inevitable change. How do you cope and manage change in your small business? Here are a few tips to guide you through 2010 and into 2011.
According to the Forbes’ U.S. Small Business Outlook 2010, small business owners are optimistic for 2010 and beyond. About half of those queried believe that the financial crisis will bottom out in 2010 and markets will turn around. By 2012, most respondents believe that they will return to growth.
What does the survey tell us? That there is still change yet to come. Small business owners must continue to form strategies and plan for change until the economic crisis is fully recovered. First, how do you manage change?
Responder – Are you a responder? Do you mainly react to events and market climates?
Adapter – Do you strive to adapt to outside influences? Many entrepreneurs try to make changes to their strategies as new technologies and techniques become available.
Anticipator – Do you actively analyze data and anticipate change? Very few small business entrepreneurs actually practice a forward-thinking strategy to be prepared for anticipated changes.
Of course, a good entrepreneurial strategy encompasses all three approaches. However, a good entrepreneur will not follow these approaches in the listed order. Here is what you should do:
Anticipate first – Have a plan for change, understanding that change is inevitable. Read business journals, analyze market trends, and scrutinize your own sales and marketing data. These will give you the tools you need to make predictions about what the market will do and how you should respond.
Adapt as changes occur – With an anticipatory strategy in action, it will be easier for you to adapt to changes as they come.
Continually respond – There is no doubt that you will always need to respond to events. However, rather than floating along like a leaf in a turbulent flash flood, you will have a map to know how to respond as changes occur.
Being prepared to change is the best strategy for coping with the unexpected, as well as maintaining sales even during turbulent times.