Do you have a plan for your business to adapt to change?

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Change in business is inevitable; can you business cope with it?

Every business — large or small, new or established — has its challenges from time to time. The businesses that are unsuccessful in overcoming those challenges haven’t been felled by the challenge itself, but how they responded to it.

In other words, they didn’t rise to challenge — they ignored changes in their industry until it was too late, didn’t respond to customer feedback, didn’t take competitive threats seriously or failed  to keep innovating.


Challenges provide opportunities

There have been many times in business where things haven’t gone as I planned. But when you can see where you’ve gone wrong, I’ve found these challenges have provided opportunities to change and improve — even the things that were beyond my control.

I was involved in a VoIP telephone system business and often issues would arise with the customer’s internet or network or something else that was out of our control, and yet we had to find ways to solve the customer’s problem.

Although I’m no longer involved with that business for other reasons entirely, some of the changes we made in response to these challenges included:

  • Only offer full customer support if we also managed the customer’s local network and / or internet connection
  • Only work with the company’s IT support person (because then we were speaking with the person who understood the importance of the point above and who knew the extent of our control over issues).

These two changes to how we operated that business drastically improved the relationships with our customers by managing their expectations right from the time they signed up to one of our VoIP phone systems.

It also cut down the time we spent troubleshooting issues that weren’t caused by our systems, but rather their local network or internet provider.


Plan your way through challenges

The best antidote to challenges with your business is to go back to your business plan and devise a new strategy for operating your business going forward. In my case, we altered our product offering to only include technical support when you managed the customer’s entire phone system, including their internet connection and local network.

That was never part of the original product offering, and it meant significantly changing how the business operated — it required more time to set up and install the services, increased our own costs, and required ongoing management of the internet connection and network.

As a consequence, we had to change our pricing model to one that remained competitive but was also sustainable. As a business, we were also taking on more risk by becoming responsible for the internet connection and network.


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