Organizations that truly thrive and enjoy longevity in their sphere are usually the ones with a willingness to adapt when circumstances require it.
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Well, maybe….
Economy of effort is what we all should strive for in our small businesses or nonprofits, but how exactly does that play out when we feel that it’s time to make big changes? Everything we do in our organizations has a cost – of money, time, and human effort. Especially in the context of operating within a modest budget, no resource should ever be squandered on items that fail to deliver an appropriate return on investment. The resulting dilemma is that entrepreneurs can find themselves paralyzed with indecision as to whether or not it’s worth rocking the boat by daring to do something radically different with the structure of their business.
But the inescapable reality is that many small companies will, at some juncture, face the need to reevaluate their entire existence as an organization. The stimuli for entering into such a place of change can be varied and may or may not be the result of the business owner voluntarily exploring new options. Some company identity shifts occur in response to factors that are beyond the entrepreneur’s control, and those are the very scenarios in which maintaining a cool, appraising eye is critical. If negative occurrences are suddenly shaking the business to its core, the unhealthiest response is to initiate a knee-jerk reaction, flailing desperately in an attempt to regain control of the reins.
And yet there are also situations in which the remolding of the company is very much born out of intentionality and deeply-contemplated purpose. Deciding to just maintain the status quo of your business because you don’t want to face the potential risks that come with making changes might seem like a good idea, but that approach may actually not be in your best interest. Organizations that truly thrive and enjoy longevity in their sphere are usually the ones with a willingness to adapt when circumstances require it. Outside influences, completely beyond the control of the business owner, will impact the effectiveness and success of the venture, and sometimes the inevitable outcome is that the road forward involves embracing change.
This concept is usually described under the overall umbrella of rebranding, but the factors that come into play are more complex and nuanced than simply changing the name of the business or employing a revised logo. True rebranding involves a complete rethinking of what the venture does, who it serves, and how it identifies itself within the marketplace. But doing so also has to be judiciously balanced with the overarching vision that launched the business in the first place. The new mission may go down different paths than what was done before, but there will undoubtedly be core values still driving the new journey. If the underlying motivations on which the organization was founded are no longer relevant then rebranding is an irrelevant pursuit, and scrapping the existing venture and starting over would be a more logical approach.
The website Entrepreneur compiled a list of 10 common factors that contribute to the decision for businesses to rebrand. Although some were really only applicable to larger corporations, several were typical of the catalysts that specifically impact small businesses. Two that are particularly appropriate are an outdated image and changing markets. The former can sometimes occur when business owners fail to embrace evolving technology or adequately assess how their business is viewed by its clients or customers. However, the latter is a much more complex scenario that needs to be approached with introspection and the willingness to step into uncharted territories.
A small business or nonprofit may enjoy a long tenure of providing relevant services to its target audience, but over time the client/customer base may itself undergo radical changes. An entrepreneur might find immediate success when entering the marketplace and therefore draw the seemingly logical conclusion that growth will be an automatic byproduct of carrying out business as usual. There can be some truth to this, but taking that approach immediately stands in the way of innovation, and failure to innovate can itself impact the ability of the business to serve.
According to everydayandepic.com, the most crucial element of a business’s rebranding involves clearly communicating its values and mission throughout the process. If the venture has been well known, developed a positive reputation in the local marketplace and community, and made a lasting impact on those who sought its services, suddenly promoting itself with a new name, logo, and business model is bound to create some confusion. The most important factor for the entrepreneur to address is continuity of story – being able to communicate the new direction in a way that still reminds the client or customer of what went before (very much including past successes).
If you find yourself in the scenario of having to radically reimagine your business identity, ground your decisions in the practical balance between the old and the new. If you’ve arrived at your decision because you realize that you’ve outgrown the space in which your venture used to thrive, you’re already adopting a very healthy approach.
Going through all the necessary steps to create a business might seem so overwhelming that you’re tempted to think, “Never again!” Only you know when you’re season is changing, but if that’s where you find yourself today, don’t talk yourself out of the incredible potential of fashioning your unique business identity – again.
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