Many of us have heard all our lives “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” It was a warning that messing with something that was working well might create more problems than it was worth. That may have been good advice at one time, but it’s lousy advice now. I encourage people that “If it ain’t broke, break it because it will soon be obsolete anyway.”
We live in a rapidly changing world that requires people to adapt quickly or be left behind. Your business plan from 2007 is probably not as effective today as it was just five years ago. Hopefully, you’re not even using that plan any more. If your equipment is more than five years old it’s probably outdated and inefficient. If the goods and/or services you offer your clients have not been updated in the past 2-3 years they are probably coming across as stale and unappealing compared to what your competitors are offering. Have you taken a fresh look at your marketing strategy to see what’s working and what’s not? Have you checked out new vendors to see how they can add value to your business? How often do you change out your displays to showcase new items?
One of the mistakes I made when I took over our business was seldom changing anything. You can read about that, and many other mistakes I made, in my e-book Mistakes: Avoiding the Wrong Decisions That Will Close Your Small Business. You can also order it for your NOOK reading device by clicking on the book cover on the right column on this blog. I made very few changes in how we operated as a company, and the changes I did make were often too small and certainly too late in coming. Our competitors ate our lunch because I didn’t want to change things that had stopped working.
Several days ago I admitted I liked watching Bar Rescue on television. One of the things that the rescuer does is change virtually everything about the bar. He changes the name, the decor, the items on both the food and drink menu, the uniforms the employees wear, and the way they go about their business. One of the reasons the bars are not profitable is that nothing has been changed for years, and he wants to help create a new brand for the bar.
When you walk into your business tomorrow take a long look around. Try to imagine what it would look like to someone who had never been in your business before. Would they find it vibrant and exciting, a good place in which to do business, with goods and services that appeal to them? Or, would it appear to be tired and outdated with people who look like they would prefer to be just about anywhere but there? You may want to ask someone to be a secret shopper so you can get an honest opinion from someone with new eyes who may see things you’ll overlook.
Change just for the sake of change is stupid, but making changes that improve your organization makes a lot of sense. Don’t hold on to something just because it used to work or your employees (and you) find it a comfortable way of doing things. Business is too competitive and customers are now too demanding to hold on to things that no longer make good business sense.