Giving Your Company a Spring Clean: When, Why and How to Implement Changes
Spring; wide-eyed lambs stumbling through fields, fresh shoots fighting for sunlight and new-born chicks never a wing's distance away from their mother. New life, it seems, is appearing everywhere at the moment. Yet, are you seeing the same rebirth and rejuvenation within your company? To find out if it could do with an injection of spring, ask yourself if any of the following situations sound familiar:
- You spent the first few years setting up your business. Then, you sat back and watched it grow. Four or five years on, you’re unsure of where to go next and you feel as if you’ve hit a glass ceiling.
- Each market is constantly changing – and so too are your competitors in response. You're feeling out of the loop and at the back of the pack, or with no plan of action on how to react.
- At times, the economy can be about as predictable as the lottery and can cause a reshuffle in your customer base, making you confused as to who you should now be targeting.
If any of these factors resonate do not fear, this article will help you formulate a plan of action covering when, how and what changes can be quickly made to ensure your business receives the spring clean it needs.
Is the timing right?
Before racing ahead, think about when you will have the most time to work on the changes you want to make and when you feel that they would be best recieved and recognised by your employees and/or clients.
Consider when the changes will be most financially viable to implement and create a budget list complete with dates - to keep you on track and provide goals and targets to allow you to monitor if and when a difference is being made.
How to implement changes:
Begin by working backwards: Focus on the end result that you want to achieve and think of the steps you need to put in place to achieve it.
Work to your strengths: Evaluate what your key competencies are and stick with what you’re best at. Focus on one key idea first rather than overwhelming yourself with several.
Use the different channels available to you: A great, and cost-friendly, way of letting people know what you’re up to is to become social media savvy and use the likes of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn as a platform to advertise your company.
Have a detailed exit strategy: Big changes never occur over night and take time to put in place. For instance creating a new image for a brand has many stages and will take time for everybody to adjust and adapt to it being different from its predecessor; it’s almost like going through a long divorce before committing to a new relationship. Allow time for the change to be carried out - bring on employees, train current ones etc. Be transparent with your company and make sure everyone is aware at all times of what is going on.
Communicate: Firstly work from within. Ask your employees and/ or clients what changes they think are necessary and find out their opinions on the best ways to go about implementing them would be. Having a big focus group to facilitate discussion will inspire people to be creative and spring board off one another's ideas.
Do your research: What are your competitors doing that you aren’t? Remember, keep your friends close and your enemies closer. A good way to do this is create a Twitter and follow all companies who show relevancy to your field. Devote twenty minutes of your morning to scanning what others are up to and questioning how you could get ahead of the game.
What changes can you attempt to make?
Disover the gaps: If you want to move in a new direction while maintaining an old customer base, work out what the gaps in your business are and attempt to reinvent and redefine what you do. For instance, the creators of aftershave Old Spice realised they could boost its market by also becoming a deodorant and Mcdonald’s realised that despite being a fast food chain, they could incorporate healthy meal options as a way to expand their audience.
Be more innovative: Attempt to stay ahead of the game by looking out for new ideas instead of following in the shadows of others. Always look at improving your product rather than being satisfied with it - before a competitor does it for you!
Implement a marketing strategy: Build a personality for your brand through developing new and meaningful ways of differentiating your product. Look at marketing the benefits of quality, location and personality or the environmental benefits it offers to seperate it from others and plan which mediums this is best communicated through. Simple things, such as the name of your company can preventing the portrayl of your brand image. Think of the associations we make with words and realise the potential impact that a name-change could have on the perception clients have of your company. A recent example where this has been successful can be seen with 'GFI Software' being renamed and subsequently rebranded to 'Logic Now', which works alongside the instant, well informed results it produces for its customers. Or, on a larger level of revamp, Standard Life, who created a new logo and website to create a more interactive relationship with their customers. Once you've made your changes, make sure to make noise about them across social media. There is little point in putting in lots of effort for nobody to know about it!
Be willing to adapt: As markets grow so do expectations and demands. View big changes in your field in an optimistic light as opportunities, instead of fearing the complications or competition they may bring. For instance, instead of Waterstones fearing the launch of Kindles as replacing traditional physical copies of books, their main product, they decided to sell Kindles within their shops whilst working on promoting the comfort of traditional paperbacks.