Small Business Change Management – How to Cope

Small Business Change Management – How To Cope

As with most things in life, nothing is permanent in business. A year from now, your business could be nowhere where it is today. Because of these many changes, it’s important to equip ourselves with business change management skills.

If you’ve been around for a while, you’ll probably remember that when Networking in…was first started, we used to run it face-to-face.

We were content with this form of networking until we got punched in the face.

In 2020, because of the COVID-19 pandemic and all the restrictions that came with it, we were faced with two options:

  1. To completely put Networking in… on hold until the restrictions were removed or…
  2. To switch online.

This decision, was, as you would imagine, a hard one. But with the encouragement of a few, we quickly made the switch and turned online.

The results were great.

In fact, some of our clients said that we were the first group in the area to make the switch and to do it in an organised way.

The numbers kept increasing, and to this date, Networking-in lives.

This was a big lesson for us at Outside ideas – adapting to change in the business environment is a VERY USEFUL tool.

5 Ways of Adapting to Change in the Business Environment

“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or the present are certain to miss the future” – John F Kennedy

You can plan for your future all you want, but things will not always go your way.

I am a big believer in planning. But recently, life has taught me to also become a believer in adapting to change.

Because when you get punched in the face, you probably won’t have any other choice but to adapt and move on.

And it’s the same in business. You can spend all the time you want planning for things, but you must also accept that things will certainly not always go your way.

Here are our 5 tips to adapting to change in business:

  1. Prepare
  2. Focus on What You Can Control
  3. Set New Targets and Goals
  4. Look At The Positives
  5. Practice Mindfulnes

1. Prepare.

There are things that are completely out of your hands, and then there are those that you can foresee happening.

Whenever you can, make sure to set a plan for when things go south.

‘Prepare for the worst, but hope for the best.’

That way, it’ll be much easier to adapt to changes, especially in your business.

How do you prepare?

  • Analyse the Market

Analysing the market helps you to prepare for what’s to come. It helps you to see little changes like changing customer preferences and technological advancements. At the same time, it can also help you to prepare for regulatory and legal changes.

By analyzing the market, small business owners can identify opportunities, mitigate risks, and make informed decisions to adjust their strategies, offerings, and operations accordingly.

  • Stay On Top of the News

Keeping up with the current affairs in your industry and country is crucial for small business change management. 

It keeps you informed about current events, market trends, economic indicators, policy changes, technological advancements, competitor activities, consumer behaviour, and potential risks.

This awareness helps you to adapt your strategies, operations, and offerings.

2. Focus on What You Can Control

‘Bad things happen, right? But the way I see it, you can either run from it, or learn from it.” ~Timon, Lion King

If someone gave us a hint that a pandemic would come and put the entire world to a pause, we would have been better prepared for it.

But that’s life – it’s unpredictable, and you just never know.

If you can’t control it, then it’s not worth that much attention. Redirect your energy towards the things you actually have control over.

It can be hard, but here are ways to stay focussed on the controllable:

  • Identify Your Sphere of Influence

You have to start by understanding what is within your control. These are aspects that you have a direct say over, like your actions, decisions, and efforts. 

For example, you can control your attitude, work ethic, time management, and how you respond to situations.

Identifying your sphere of influence makes adapting to change in the business environment easier.

  • Accept What You Cannot Control

Once you have identified what you can control, the next is to accept what you cannot control.

Certain factors, like the COVID-19 pandemic, the economy, and the political stability of your country are way beyond your control.

It’s important to accept these realities and let go of unnecessary worry or frustration. Instead, redirect your energy towards the things you can control.

3. Set new targets and goals

It sucks when you’ve really been looking forward to something, and then things don’t go your way.

But, it’s the reality…

What can you do when you get punched in the face? Set a new goal. More often than not, the opportunity will arise and you’ll have a chance to get back on track.

After accepting that we couldn’t control the pandemic, we decided to do the only thing in our power to sustain the business – switch online. And it has so far proven to be pivotal for our business.

The lesson here?

Don’t focus too much on what could have happened differently, but instead on achieving those same goals in the future. That’s what adapting to change is all about.

Here are the ways in which you can do so:

  • Revisit Your Vision

What’s your long-term vision for the business? You need to go back and reflect on the direction you want to take, keeping in mind the business change that has happened or is about to happen.

This will help you to discover the business objectives that remain relevant despite the changes, making business change management easier.

  • Identify Key Focus Areas

Once you have revisited your vision, you need to clarify your key focus areas based on these changes. You may not be able to make all the changes at once, but having them noted down is a step in the right direction.

Prioritise them based on the overall objectives of your business.

  • Make New SMART goals

Each focus area needs aligned specific and measurable goals. Create clear goals that can be monitored and tracked and that you can be held accountable to.

Break down each of these goals into actionable steps. Define the tasks, resources, and timelines required to achieve each step. This breakdown makes the goals more manageable.

4. Look at the Positives

Life can hit you with great curveballs.

And sometimes, the best way to deal with a situation is to remain optimistic.

Almost always, there will be a way to find humour in the situation. And if not, there will be a break in the clouds.

Adapting to change makes you realise that there’s almost always a silver lining, if you change the lens you’re looking through.

Here’s how to stay positive:

  • Focus on Gratitude

Sometimes, by zooming out, we are able to turn our mindsets to be positive, almost instantly. 

Acknowledge the progress you have made, the opportunities you have, and the achievements, no matter how small. 

Practising gratitude helps shift your focus toward the positive aspects of your business, fostering a positive outlook.

  • Surround Yourself With Positive-Minded People

“You are an average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.”

If you surround yourself with pessimists, it’s hard to see the other side of things. Build a network of mentors, colleagues, or fellow business owners who uplift and inspire you. 

Engage in discussions, attend networking events, or join professional communities where you can connect with like-minded individuals who share your positive mindset.

  • Seek Motivation and Inspiration

In order to stay positive, you have to consume content that keeps you positive. Find sources of inspiration and motivation that resonate with you. Read books, listen to podcasts, or watch videos or speeches by successful entrepreneurs or business leaders.

These sources of inspiration will fuel your positivity.

5. Practice Mindfulness

People tend to be worried about the things that happened in the past or those that they foresee happening in the future.

This makes us lose out, BIG TIME!

Life is happening, right now. Not tomorrow, and not yesterday.

So what if things didn’t go your way? Maybe they will next time, or maybe not…But what matters is what’s happening now. That’s what you really have control over. Focus on it!

Here are some practices that have worked well for us:

  • Start Your Day Mindfully

Starting your work day mindfully sets the tone for the rest of the day. How do you do this? You could start by meditating every day. Find a quiet space, limit the distractions around you, and focus on your breath.

Starting your day mindfully will give you the clarity to deal with adapting to change in the business environment.

  • Be Present In All That You Do

Business owners make lots of decisions every single day. One hack to practice mindfulness is to incorporate it in all spheres of your life.

Whether it be when taking breaks, making decisions, communicating, listening, or even eating, we need to be mindful.

Being present in every moment promotes clarity, resilience, and effective decision-making.

What Our Clients Have To Say

At a fantastic Networking-in session with Liz Jackson, we asked some of our clients about their healthy coping skills. We felt that it was useful to share these mechanisms.

In business, it is unlikely that you’ll ever face a challenge that’s completely unique to you. Listening to fellow small business owners about business change management can be a game-changer for you and how you deal with your problems.

Here are some of the skills that are useful to you as a business owner:

Small Business Change Management

Business Change Management – Our Summary

In conclusion, life gives us all lemons. Today, it’s me, tomorrow, it’s you.

It would be false to say that we can welcome the issues that come about with a smile. We can’t. Sometimes, things just suck!

The most we can do is accept what has happened, pick up the lesson from them, and move on. And that’s where adapting to change comes in…

Business change management is an essential skill for any entrepreneur. The 5 tips for adapting to change in the business environment are:

  1. Prepare
  2. Focus On What You Can Control
  3. Set New Targets and Goals
  4. Look At The Positives
  5. Practice Mindfulness

If you would like help to adapt to some changes in your business, get in touch. Outside ideas are on a mission to help people and businesses grow. We have a range of support that can help you.


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