How to Gracefully Handle Big Changes to Your Business

A new year might have you thinking about implementing some changes to your business operations. Use these five tips to help it go as smoothly as possible.

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Are you thinking about making some big changes in 2020? Good — change is necessary for growth. But have you thought about how your customers and employees will react? 

Will they be as happy as you are about the changes you’re planning to make?  

As the leader of the business, if you can’t get your team on board or your clients behind the change, you’re not going to have much success. 

As you set out to make those big 2020 changes, use these five tips to keep everyone aligned and ready to embrace the changes that will get you closer to your goals.

No. 1 Give everyone fair warning and keep them updated.

The worst part about change is not knowing that it’s coming. 

Take out that uncomfortable element of surprise by letting your employees and customers know what changes are coming. Give them fair warning and let them know what to expect. 

If you don’t have the details worked out yet, let them know what you do have worked out and when you should have more information for them. 

Doing this communicates respect and works to alleviate some of the fears and worries your customers or employees may have around that change — which means you’ll face less resistance along the way.

No. 2 Let them in on the “Why.”

Most of us are creatures of habit. We have our ways of doing things and we don’t want to be told to do things differently — especially if we aren’t given good reason.    

It’s like having a business with no mission statement. Why does your company exist? Why do your employees’ jobs and hard work matter?  

If they don’t know the answer, they’re not going to be gung-ho, day in and day out. But if they know the “why” behind their work, they’ll be driven, focused and ready to go.  

Make that connection with your changes. When implementing a change in your business, clearly communicate why you’re making it and how it will make things better. If your customers and employees understand your reasoning, they’ll be much more likely to get on board with what you’re trying to do.

No. 3 Invite feedback.

You might be excited about the changes you’re making and think you’ve considered things from every angle. But no matter how long you’ve thought on it or how well you know your business, you could miss something. 

That’s why, when making changes, it’s always a good idea to seek out other perspectives, angles, opinions and ideas.  

Let your employees and customers know your door is open before, during and after the change.You may find that your customers and employees have really great ideas that can make your change better or more successful. They may also see problems that could arise from the change that you may have missed. 

Most importantly, inviting feedback communicates that you value their feelings, opinions, and ideas. When people feel respected, valued and heard, they’re taken out of that fight-or-flight mode mentality and are more willing to listen and adapt. They get a sense of justice.

That’s why the best thing you can do in response to a negative online review is let your customer know you hear them and understand how and why they feel the way they do.

No. 4 Keep your eyes and ears open.

While some people may feel comfortable coming into your office and sharing their ideas, objections or concerns around a change, others may not. So keep your eyes and ears open.

Spend some time with your team and your customers, and look for any signs that someone may be struggling with the change or resisting it. 

If you see someone having a hard time, take the time to empathize with them, ask them some questions about the change and their feelings toward it, and reiterate why the change is necessary. 

Just taking a little extra time with them can eliminate some of the resistance they’re feeling. 

No. 5 Make one big change at a time.

It’s easier to accept a new item on a menu than it is to accept an entirely new menu, decor and type of cuisine. So don’t make the mistake of trying to change too much at once in your business.

Start with one change, get everyone through that successfully, and then prepare them for the next change. Keep everything else as normal as possible so they don’t feel like the rug is being pulled out from under them. 

And remember, give everyone plenty of warning and time to adjust before you move onto the next change. 

If your employees don’t know what to expect when they go into work because there’s a new change every day, that stress can compile and make an otherwise happy employee leave. 

Ready to go out there and make those changes that will make 2020 your best year yet? Keep these five tips in mind and make it happen.

About the Authors

Carter Harkins and Taylor Hill are the co-founders of Spark Marketer, a Nashville, Tennessee-based digital marketing company that works primarily with service businesses. They’re also the co-hosts of the "Blue Collar Proud (BCP) Show," a podcast that’s all about having and living the blue-collar dream, and the co-authors of the book Blue Collar Proud: 10 Principles for Building a Kickass Business You Love. They're also co-creators of the award-winning app Closing Commander, which helps contractors close more estimates effortlessly. Both regularly speak at service industry trade shows and conferences across the nation. Visit www.facebook.com/sparkmarketerwww.facebook.com/bcpshowwww.facebook.com/groups/bluecollarproudnation or facebook.com/closingcommander.



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