How your business can thrive in a changing world
Leanne Berry shares some steps for leading change management in your business, and it goes beyond digitisation. The operating environment for SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises) is in a constant state of change. From global pandemics, environmental disasters, and now rising inflationary pressures to name a few, the business community has had to move from […]
Leanne Berry shares some steps for leading change management in your business, and it goes beyond digitisation.
The operating environment for SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises) is in a constant state of change. From global pandemics, environmental disasters, and now rising inflationary pressures to name a few, the business community has had to move from one set of challenges to the next without much time to catch a breath.
The one constant in all of this? Change.
Business adaptability is essential to keep up with the changing world. However, it’s not just a one-time thing. Sue Inkersell, Managing Director at 3rd Arm Admin, was on a Change Management panel I hosted at Bookkeepcon22 in Christchurch and suggested we should approach change with the mindset: “What’s one thing I can do this week which will make every week going forward, better?”
The individuals and businesses that are most adaptable are those most likely to survive, if not thrive, when the ground is shifting beneath them. So how can SMEs best adapt and evolve to seize the opportunities that change can bring?
Change in action
During the recent panel event at Bookkeepcon22, we discussed one of the biggest changes businesses have experienced in recent years – the need for greater digitisation.
Digitisation has (and still is) delivering significant value for SMEs. MYOB’s Digital Disconnection research revealed that more than two-thirds (69%) of New Zealand SMEs who have become more digital, believe it has made them more profitable.
For SMEs, having the ability to get proactive and reinvent systems and processes to move with change, is essential in today’s day and age. If used to their full potential, the right digital tools can help you make informed business decisions and future-proof your operations. It can also be extremely beneficial if your business is audited by Inland Revenue, or you apply for a bank loan. For example, the detailed information required about business incomings and outgoings can be collated within minutes compared to hours of pulling this data manually.
Good digitisation has huge benefits for a business, but SMEs need to make sure they are still in-tune with this change mindset and are continuing to review their processes and solutions to ensure their systems integrate well, and together, are empowering productive, efficient, insights-driven business practices.
Digitisation is just one change businesses can make. For those keen to explore ‘where to next?’ in terms of adjustments or improvements in your business, here are a few steps:
Steps for leading change management in your business
1. Assess – ‘Understanding the change’
This is the time to evaluate and understand how external factors, both nationally and internationally, could affect the business environment. It’s important to assess future needs and potential impacts, and what any resulting gaps might look like.
During the assessment phase, consider the detail of what is changing externally and the proposed solution.
It’s also an opportune time to start discussing with your team and/or core stakeholders about the prospect of change.
2. Plan – ‘Planning for the change’
Once you’ve assessed the opportunities and areas for change, it’s time to begin identifying the key activities required to implement these changes and developing a strategy to achieve them.
While developing your plans, ask yourself the below questions:
- What is the key objective of the change?
- Who do you need to involve and what support is required?
- How are you going to communicate this to your team and customers?
- Is there any training or upskilling required?
- What are the key delivery timelines?
3. Do – ‘Implementing the change’
It is at this stage when you begin putting your schedule of actions into play to deliver the desired change you’re after.
During this implementation phase, it’s important to remain flexible. Be open-minded and sensitive to the needs, desires or concerns of employees and customers and adjust your plans if needed.
There will almost always be obstacles along the way, and going back to revisit your strategy will help you stay focused on the main priorities and objectives.
4. Sustain – ‘Reviewing and reinforcing change’
After implementing any changes, no matter how big or small, it’s important to review how effective your initiatives were. This review should be done after the first three months (if a bigger change, review again after six months), to take stock of whether the change has been delivered in alignment with your objectives.
As part of the review process, try to collate both anecdotal and data-based feedback from employees, customers and an advisor (like your accountant or bookkeeper) about the outcomes of the change process.
Anecdotal feedback should include what went well and what could be improved, while data-based insights could look at how the change has impacted efficiency, production, financials, etc. This process will help highlight useful insights to incorporate back into the change management process and continually elevate your business as a result.
The rate of change is increasing in almost all business sectors. Agility has become a defining factor of success – both for businesses and individuals.
So, whether you recognise the need for new systems and processes in your business, or you simply need to get better at handling change in your own workplace, try using the above tips to help shift your mindset, your operations, and your ambitions today.
Leanne Berry is Community Relations Manager – Partners at MYOB.