…'If it ain't broke don't fix it'
...'Don't change a winning team'
...'Don't change horses in mid-stream'
How often we see these kind of phrases and, let's face it, they can make pretty sound sense in their own right.
HOWEVER, when small business people like us stick with these WITHOUT taking regular temperature checks in our work and market places, things can come up and bite us (and invariably do when we least expect it!).
So, what should we do? Here's a few basics:
Talk regularly to customers in order to keep up to speed with the quality of our products, services and processes. Continually review their needs and draw intelligence from what is really going on their worlds, not just what we think might be.
Listen to suppliers on things like the effects of changing market trends or shifting environmental factors. Let's make them feel like we are true and curious stakeholders in their business (and them in ours, of course).
The same applies to our staff and, above all, keep them in the loop in an honest and open way. Not only does this engender team work but you never know what they pick up during the day which might have a major impact on the way we run our businesses.
Some people might refer to all this as simply risk management (an important subject for another time!); for others it's a natural default position founded on common sense and a hunger to make their businesses the best in the field.
Whatever we want to call it, one thing we can be sure, it creates READINESS for change. In other words it means we are ever alert; always on the starting blocks just waiting for that gun.
So how ready are you? To get some answers to this, just take a little time out to look at some of the questions you may need to ask yourself first.
Ted Beecher, BLA Director