How to Adapt to Change: 5 Secrets for Entrepreneurs
Like other aspects of life, business is not immune to change. If you want your company to stay on track, you need to be prepared and adapt to the constant changes that occur. Of course, not all changes are the same – some may be simple and too small to be noticeable, while others are quite complex and have a significant impact on the entire organization.
When faced with the latter, giving up may be the easier thing to do. But rather than entertaining that thought, figure out how to anticipate changes and adjust the way you think accordingly, regardless of the kind of development that may come up.
From practicing acceptance and open-mindedness to having a forward-thinking team and reflecting on past experiences, this article will explain the five secrets entrepreneurs need to know when adapting to change:
1. Accept Change
In the face of change, your initial reaction is probably to become slightly upset. This is to be expected and entirely reasonable. After all, clinging to what you already know is a lot easier than embarking on something different.
However, this doesn’t change the fact that, in order to move forward, the best thing you can do is to accept change. This way, you won’t be stuck with an outdated mindset and proceed with your business productively. Remember that denial will only hinder you from progress and leave your business stagnant.
In the beginning, accepting change requires a full understanding of your current mindset about the concept. Determine whether you are hesitant, fearful, angry, anxious, or excited about the change.
You may have more than one of these feelings, some of which may be conflicting and can leave you unsure of how to react when the change has taken place. To help yourself accept a new fact of life, take time to think about it. Even better, write down what you’re thinking of, as seeing ideas and thoughts written down can be helpful during reflection.
Take the “new normal” born from the COVID-19 pandemic, for example. Unless a vaccine is created, face-to-face interaction could remain dangerous. This means you might need to incorporate remote work in your company and implement online-based transactions to ensure the safety of your staff and customers while still continuing business operations.
2. Open Your Mind
Aside from accepting change, you must also open your mind to its implications and consequences. Too often, entrepreneurs end up failing because they let their assumptions and preconceptions cloud their judgment.
Rather than fearing what you have yet to fully understand, open your heart and mind to the possibility that this change can actually be beneficial to your company. Whether it’s a new business model, a marketing technique, or an innovative product, changes can benefit businesses if company leaders have the courage and drive to try something different.
So, instead of listening to naysayers: try. Even if others think it won’t work, you will not be able to make a sound decision on the matter if you don’t open your mind.
To become successful, entrepreneurs accept that the ground can shift at any given time, and adjustments need to be made when this happens. Even after putting a tremendous amount of energy, time, and resources into your business plan, you should be ready to revise it a few months or years later to ensure that your company remains relevant to the market it serves.
3. Keep an Eye Out for Opportunities
To outdo the competition, it isn’t enough that you understand the market – you also need to have a firm grasp of the business environment and watch out for opportunities brought about by change.
You see, some environmental factors are out of your control, including economic, social, and political factors. Since socio-economic factors have a significant influence on consumer behavior, make sure you keep an eye out for opportunities that may rise out of such eventualities.
Let’s go back to the COVID-19 pandemic example mentioned earlier.
Since face-to-face transactions are not recommended while the virus continues to spread, you can come up with solutions that’ll help consumers avoid it. This can come in the form of a delivery service for basic commodities, online bills payments, contactless fuel fill-ups, sustainable food sources (e.g., backyard gardening), and many others.
These ideas accommodate the growing need for people to stay home and practice social distancing and provide people with solutions to the new concerns brought about by the change (the health crisis).
By gaining insight into environmental factors, you allow your company to get ahead and have an edge over the competition. New ideas might even make you a catalyst for recent trends in the market, which, as you know, can boost your trust for your brand.
4. Create a Team of Forward-Thinking Individuals
No company can succeed with just one person running it. This holds true for businesses faced with change.
When entrepreneurs build teams of forward-thinking individuals, they help their organization overcome the change and use it to their advantage. Thanks to a combination of skills, smarts, dedication, and hard work, each member of the team can contribute to specific aspects of the business and ensure that every task is accomplished with expertise and proficiency.
5. Reflect on the Past
While you do need to think forward, there are lessons from the past that may hold the key to your future. This is also true when adapting to change.
The changes you face today may be new, but chances are you’ve responded to other forms of changes in the past. Even if the situation isn’t entirely similar, you can think about how you reacted before and use that experience to decide on what you should do now.
It would also be helpful to speak to someone you trust. It can be your spouse, a close friend, or even an experienced mentor who can enlighten you about how you need to handle change. You can also go for coaching services to gain valuable insights into how you can approach the challenges your business continues to face.
Adapt to Succeed
A bamboo that bows to the wind doesn’t break even in the face of a hurricane. Take this cue and be a bamboo that adapts to the direction of the wind. Not only will you avoid failure this way, but you can also get one step closer to success.
Salma El-Shurafa is an experienced Executive Coach and founder of The Pathway Project. She is a Professional Certified Coach by the International Coaching Federation (ICF), a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach from The Coaches Training Institute (CTI) and a graduate of CTI’s Co-Active Leadership program.