Change can be scary for an entrepreneur. While it is necessary to grow your business, if it’s not handled correctly it could cost you customers, money and your bottom line. Here are some tips to help you make changes in your business without damaging your brand:
Determine how the change will impact your business. How will the change that you’re contemplating affect your customers’ experience? How will it impact the quality of your service or product? Take the time to conduct a thorough impact analysis so that you know the whole story. This will allow you to make educated decisions surrounding the change and it will help you prepare for the challenges that you’ll face.
Communicate with your customers. How do your customers feel about this change? Is it something that they want? How do they perceive that it will affect them? If you don’t know the answers to these questions, you should. Don’t assume that you know; it is important that you actually ask them. If you decide to make the change, notify your customers and explain your rationale for the decision. When you openly communicate with them and make them a part of the process, they will be more likely to embrace the change.
Start small. There is no point in sugar-coating it; change can be crippling for a business. Many successful businesses have failed after making a change that alienated their customers. Resist the temptation to leap in with both feet. Try a soft launch, or test your new approach with just a few of your customers before you completely overhaul your business.
Closely monitor the impact of the change. Once you make a change to your business, it is important that you carefully evaluate the impact. Before you even start implementing the change, you should have an evaluation plan in place. How will you determine the success or failure of the change? It is essential that you keep on top of any customer complaints related to the change as they may be an indication that you need to tweak your strategy. If it’s not working, you want to know right away.
Making a change to your business is a big deal and it should never be attempted without careful analysis. It is important to be realistic about how the change will impact your customers. As the leader of your business, you should have a clear understanding of your competitive advantage and strive to protect it. While change is important to your growth, think twice before tampering with something that is already working well; you may find that it was actually the key to your success.
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