As a business coach I often come across people who are “stuck”, for whatever reason, and resisting change with every fibre of their being. Even when they know that things have moved on and markets have changed, they stubbornly refuse to change they way they have always done it.
One easy way to see if you are “change resistant” is to look at your ideas and feelings about some of the “new technology”, and new ways of marketing businesses like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Have you embraced the changes or are you adopting a wait and see attitude?
So why do we resist change? Why would we possibly not want to do something when we know it would make us more money if we did? Well I have identified 6 main reasons why we sometimes get “stuck” in the same place.
- Fear of the time or money needed to make changes. I often get told by clients that they are ‘too busy’ to take time to look at their business and plan. Sometimes they feel that they are just busy fighting fires from day to day and trying to get the work out the door. Sometimes, especially in a down economy, they just don’t want to look at things because the perception is that it will take money to fix it. This isn’t always the case – sometimes it is just being logical, delegating or creating a simple checklist to make things easier. Often a small amount of time invested now will make a huge difference in growing a business.
- They don’t really know what changes to make. This can be a simple case of not seeing the wood for the trees. Often if you have been in business for any length of time it is someone from outside of your business that has the opportunity to “see” meaningful changes that you could make and suggestions that can move your business forward sometimes with a quantum leap.
- They aren’t aware of how many “sales” they are actually missing. Often we get used to a certain level of turnover – that then becomes our norm. We will adjust this figure depending on what we feel the economy is doing or what we feel we should possibly be earning. After a while this becomes a “self-fulfilling prophesy” with no real surprises. In this state you are no longer ‘hungry’ you are no longer chasing and actively trying to identify new markets or new clients – you have stagnated and have no idea how many “sales” you could be missing.
- They are technophobic and afraid of the learning curve. Technology has moved on – we no longer have the old cell phone (brick) that we used to own 10 years ago. The same has happened with computers and the internet and the huge explosion of the Web 2.0 (social media). If you are over the age of 35 then this new technology may not be something you want to embrace – in fact it will probably be seen as a great big waste of time! The problem is that it is not going to go away. Marketing is going to change whether we like it or not so the earlier you embrace that change the better off your business will be in the long run.
- Not knowing where to start & it seems overwhelming and confusing. If it is any length of time since you last took a long hard look at your business, it can seem a very daunting process. Where do you start – there could be so many areas to address and so many new things to think about or implement – which ones should you be concentrating on? Which ones will make a real difference? Is it going to be activity for activities sake? Once these questions start rattling around in your head and you have no clear answer, it is easy to see how you can get “stuck” and opt for “just doing things the way we have always done them”. If you feel yourself starting to sit on the fence and not really moving forward – get some help – get someone to brainstorm with, someone to help you put a plan in place – someone to get you unstuck.
- They are emotionally attached to what they have – after all they initially spent time and money on it! This could be the logo for your company that you daughter designed for you, it could be your website that cost you an arm and a leg to produce 10 years ago. It could be a product that you invested heavily in several years ago and just haven’t had the time to market. It could just be your business that you have spent 15 years growing and time, technology and external market forces (like China) have impacted on hugely and you know you need to move on.
This emotional attachment is often the most difficult one to get over. It is really difficult when you feel like you are “giving up” something that is dear to your heart or something you feel perhaps you just need to try harder with! Once again – the easiest way to move forward would be to get some independent advice and then listen to it – even if they tell you something you don’t want to hear – and move forward.
The bottom line is that businesses cannot stay the same for ever. The natural laws of the universe dictate that something is either growing and expanding and multiplying or it is dying. Businesses are just the same – either they are growing, looking forward, finding new markets, adopting new techniques etc., or they are atrophying, getting smaller, losing ground to other companies, in shrinking markets and starting to struggle.
Which business would you rather be in? You do have a choice – get a coach, a mentor, a consultant in to take a long hard look at your business and above all – commit to keep growing!