To quote the great thinker Edward De Bono; standing still can be the fastest way of moving backwards. This is more applicable than ever to today’s business world, where change is often taking place at a faster rate than ever before.
Small businesses in particular need to have the willingness to embrace fresh ideas and opportunities to keep them innovating and developing their services so they can compete with larger players in their marketplace. Recent research from T-Mobile of over 2,000 small business owners found 20% of small business owners admit to worrying about change and 9% are prevented from making changes as they believe they won’t be welcomed by others in the company.
The inability to cope with change is a psychological issue and there are many ways small business owners can make positive changes for the benefit of the bottom line of their business. However, it is natural to fear change and risk taking. To address this, you should look back on the risks and decisions that you have made in the past and that have ultimately got you to where you are today. Assessing what has worked before should give you confidence in your ability to make positive change and teach you to trust your intuition, which may have served you well in the past.
This objectivity is difficult to achieve without taking a step back from the current situation – take ten minutes out of the office or jot-down your thought process to distance yourself from what’s happening. A detached, objective viewpoint will lead to a more informed decision and could help you notice potential ‘blindspots’, which have prevented you from making effective changes. Also, just talking to an expert in your field, a business consultant or an old friend can help you gain the confidence to push your business forward. If you are facing a difficult time in your business, the fresh perspective can help highlight areas that need change.
When you have discussed the issue thoroughly, it’s your energy, optimism and conviction that will enable you to convince your colleagues and others in your business. Thankfully, 81% of small business owners describe themselves as naturally optimistic. Even if you’re not, scientists have proven that those with higher levels of serotonin are more optimistic and therefore more likely to take a positive approach to change. You can boost your own serotonin levels from Vitamin D by getting some sun and eating foods naturally high in this such as salmon. This will help put you in a different frame of mind – one more receptive to the positive potential of new ideas.
As a leader, you should look to share this enthusiasm and positivity by connecting with staff as individuals – tailoring incentives and personalising communication and feedback. As staff become more engaged, they’ll be more willing to promote a culture of change and embrace new ideas in your business. And listening to those around you is not only a great source of inspiration, it’s also vital for sourcing how individuals can make a difference within the company going forward. Communal activities like a team day away from the office are invaluable in establishing a team ethos and getting a chance to hear from staff at all levels. If you get a sense that your staff are hungry for changes, this will help propel you to make them.
Finally, according to T-Mobile’s research, 23% of business owners describe themselves as too busy to make positive changes to their business. However, avoiding change isn’t just a means of staying put; it’s a recipe for getting overtaken by the competition. Within today’s economy, those businesses pushing innovation and new ways of working will come out on top while the rest are left behind.
By staying upbeat and listening to yourself and others around you, you have the ability to make change in your business.
Words By Mamta Saha