In 1998 Dr Spencer Johnson wrote a small but popular fable describing the human responses to unexpected change, entitled Who Moved my Cheese?
For those that know me and are wondering how this fits my field of interest, read on.
Although the book over-simplifies the story, the message is clear, particularly for business owners:
In the long-term nothing stays the same. What once seemed a stable situation can suddenly be disrupted by an unforeseen event or development.
Think about when new competitors appear on your horizon, or when new regulations force you to re-certify your products or services. How about those book-keepers that now have to compete with easy-to-use applications available on clients’ smartphones? How will the manufacturers of internal combustion engines be feeling right now; with the rapid move towards electrical vehicles around the Globe?
Much of change is out of our control and most is difficult to predict. We need to accept it. In the current environment it will happen more frequently than we have been used to. They call it VUCA – Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous.
But the good news is change rarely as bad as you think it will be. As long as you can flow with it.
Learn to Anticipate Change
So, now you accept that change CAN happen. Can you predict what will change and when it will happen? Well, that’s not so easy. But as you start to pay more attention you should start to see patterns.
A change of government (local or national) might foretell of regulatory changes. A movement in exchange rates might show you that some of your supply costs will change (good or bad). That new competitor in the market might force you into price competition.
If you see movements in your industry – be prepared. There may be a change in the prevailing wind.
Monitor for Change
OK – so now we’re getting the hang of it. Change happens. Lots of it; all the time. But its too big a task for any company to monitor everything.
What is worth monitoring? What is important to you? What will force you to respond with a change in the way you do business? Do you even know?
With your Business Model, and corresponding Business Plan you have the tools to break it down and start analysing it; to see what impacts those changes could have for you.
With a Cash-flow Forecast tool – you can model the impact on your bank account. This being more vital in the short-term than your profit calculations.
You do have a Business Model don’t you? Of course you do; it just might not be documented in a digestible manner.
When did you last see your Business Plan? Is it one of those 30-page wonders that you keep locked away for a rainy day?
Make sure you have the best tools to help you, and that you keep them sharp.
Adapt To Change Quickly
Your Business Model depicts the elements of your business, with their linkages. A change in one of those elements and you will be able to track all the corresponding moving parts.
Your Business Model allows you to adapt to the new circumstances, and plan your reaction. You will be able to remodel, based on the new information you have and adjust your Business Plan accordingly. This, of course, will then flow into your Cash forecasting and P&L.
The quicker you do this the sooner you can reap the rewards of positive changes, or mitigate negative changes. Your swift action and positive mindset will allow you to survive and thrive.
When was the last time you reviewed your Business Model and Business Plan?
You are now at a point; on the cusp of embracing change and looking for change to happen. Maybe you have changes that you’d like to try; to get an edge in your market.
Your confidence in using your Business Model and Business Plan to guide your decision making takes much of the fear and reluctance away from your actions.
At this point you realise that your one-page Business Model, and your one-page Business Plan is a toolset that you can use frequently. A way of planning and refining how you will build your business to meet your desires…. more time? more customers? more cheese? (you need to read the book, or watch the cartoon on YouTube).
By now you have become more Strategic! How does it feel?
You can now see ways of spending less time IN the business and more time ON the Business. You are viewing the industry through different eyes and plotting your own moves towards your own future.
Be Ready To Change Quickly And Enjoy It Again
Rinse and Repeat!
Brought to you by Dean Craven
We focus on supporting smaller businesses who want to grow and thrive. We partner with our clients to provide Business Modelling, Business Planning, Product and Market Profitability, and Cash Flow Management.
Once you have your plans and systems in place you can spend 80% of your time ON the business and only 20% IN 🙂
We would be happy to see your comments below. It’s good to talk!