Message from the President & CEO

“Why Change is Necessary for Small Businesses to Grow”, by Stacy Karacostas, Part 1 

This month, I continue the topic of change in the business world with a great article by Stacy Karacostas:

 Is Temporary Insanity Keeping You From Growing Your Small Business? Most people are afraid to change how they do things in their business. They are comfortable with the way things are and don't believe change will help their business grow. But successful people recognize when things aren't working and aren't afraid to make changes.  

Successful people, and businesses, recognize the need for change early. They embrace it. And they go looking for it. Because of this, they are also usually quick to see when something is not working and not afraid to change it.

You know the definition of insanity, right? Not the Webster’s version, but the other one? The one that says insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results.

I’d always thought this saying was mostly funny, and just a little bit true. But now I suspect that - based on this definition - most folks really are at least a little bit insane (myself included). And small business owners tend to suffer from this kind of insanity even more than most.

Let me give you an example.

I was working with a client recently who brought me in because he was not getting enough new clients. I spent hours learning about his business and creating a marketing plan based on his needs. I even incorporated a number of ideas he was already planning to put into action.

Then I mentioned that he really needed to define a strong unique selling proposition (you know, something special that - all other things being equal - would make me choose to do business here instead of with the guy down the street).

Now, mind you, I wasn’t suggesting he change the way he does business. Just that he needed to better highlight the qualities and services that made him different from his competition.

 You know what the first thing he said was…?“I don’t want to change anything.”

Of course, I’ve heard this fateful phrase shoot forth from the lips of clients many times before. Yet it still never ceases to amaze me.

After all, he hired me to help him with his marketing because what he’s currently doing isn’t getting results. Yet when I propose a very minor change in the way he presents his business - one that is sure to improve his returns - he immediately slams on the brakes.

Why? Because, like most people, he is simply not comfortable with change. But if he keeps doing the same thing, we all know what will happen. He’ll keep getting the same poor results.If he wants to be more successful he has to let go of this insane way of operating, and stop doing things the same for no other than that is how he has always done it.

After all, the one thing you can always count on is change.That leaves you two choices: let change happen to you, or make changes happen.

The first is how most people operate. They won’t change anything until and unless they feel forced to. Now sometimes, you can’t help it. Something happens - new competition, legal restrictions, patent infringement - the list is endless.

But even when the catalyst for change is outside your control, you still get to decide how to deal with it.

Next month, the conclusion of Stacy’s article.

Happy New Year!

Lee Bell
President and CEO