As a Speaker, Strategist and Solutionist working with high-achieving women who are career professional and business owners, I know that every business owner must reinvent, captivate and leverage in order to continue to grow and remain viable.
To most business owners who have spent years and hundreds or thousands of dollars building their brand and developing a client base to have chucked it all away to reinvent their business probably seems like the height of insanity – and if you do it on the fly or haphazardly, it probably is.
But there are many reasons to tweak your business model or to possibly try out a whole new one – it does make perfect sense at the right time. If you do it thoughtfully, it could be the best business decision you will ever make.
Here are five tips for reinventing your business one step at a time:
1.Know When to Make a Change –The first step is deciding if it’s the right time for a change. Studies have shown that most small business owners have been running their businesses for about seven years. They spend the first three years absorbed in getting things started. Then they’re in a growth phase for three to four years. Then they hit the glass ceiling, or don’t find the work challenging anymore and now they want to try something new and different.
Many factors can push a small business owner toward reinvention. It may be a need to spend more time with family. The market may have changed. The economy may have re-shuffled their customer base. Boredom may have set in. These are all legitimate reasons for change.
But you need to be practical, too. Any change involves risk. If you’re paying for kids in college and have a steady cash flow, you may have to wait a few years before reinventing.
2.Decide What You Want –After the decision is made to change, you need to decide what type of change is necessary to meet your goals.
Once you decide there’s something you can do better, you need to decide whether to make a little tweak or a major overhaul. You have to decide what’s best for your brand. It’s a matter of looking at your core values and competencies and sticking with what you do the best.
It is a known fact that entrepreneurs have more ideas than they have time. The absolute first stage is deciding to cut off all those other ideas and focus on one. Making a decision to make a decision is the hardest thing for entrepreneurs to do.
The easiest way to figure out what to change and at what magnitude – is to work backward.
3.Follow the Plan –The next step is something every business owner should be experienced in preparing and following – the business plan. You need to act as if you’re starting from scratch. Then you need to think it through thoroughly, figure out who the competition might be, how you are going to beat them and what are the costs and the initial investment.
Sometimes entrepreneurs tend to rely on intuition, but you need to make sure other people (a mentor or other business owners) think your plan is a good idea.
4.Make the Switch –During the transition, you’ll likely to be running two businesses at once as you phase out the old business model and ramp up the new one.
Sometimes reinventing can mean running two businesses simultaneously for a period of time. It’s overwhelming, and business owners are often so excited about the new model, they want to let go of the old model. It’s like going through a long divorce before committing to a new relationship – and for sure that is not fun.
The solution is to create a detailed exit strategy. Allow time to negotiate new leases, bring on new employees or train current employees. Be transparent throughout the process with vendors, customers, employees and most important family and yourself. Give everyone notice that changes are coming, when these changes will happen and what it means for them.
5.Mentor and Manage –Even those committed to sticking to their business plan can start to deviate. Small business owners sometimes need people to bounce things off of to keep them from going off in crazy directions – this is when a mentor is good to have.
Some people go through a grieving process. They’re letting go of a piece of something they’ve built and need to process that. There’s a lot of stuff to deal with when reinventing, but if you don’t do the process correctly, it will come back and bite you.
Although the process can be rough, reinventing your business can be a rush. It’s an exciting place to be especially if the time is right.
If a business owner gets to reinvent themselves with substantial capital and 10 or 20 years of experience without making mistakes – this is truly a blessing.
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As a reminder, for career and businesswomen it’s always about – ‘Results. Uniqueness. Differentiation.’ I call this your ‘RUD’.
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