Too many business owners ignore these warning signs. Ignore them and risk getting left behind.
In the business world, there are always opportunities for transformation and growth. As leaders develop both personally and professionally, they gradually learn to identify the aspects of their business or their team that need change. This ability to identify and understand when your company is in need of a change is a sign of effective business leadership, as it provides you with the foresight necessary to more effectively reach your long-term business goals.
Throughout my career, I’ve learned the warning signs that something needs to change. Following are three sure signs that it’s time for a business transformation.
- Your current business practices are inefficient
Every so often, you should evaluate just how efficient your current business practices are and determine where change is needed. Most often, when a business is lacking in efficiency, it isn’t effectively matching its teams’ strengths to the tasks at hand. There are several ways to address this, but one option is to develop what are called opportunity marketplaces, which are, according to MIT Sloan Management Review, “systems and platforms that enable talent to access strategically valuable opportunities while building skills and capabilities for themselves.” There are also other tools that can help save time and bolster efficiencies, such as chatbots and other artificial intelligence (AI)-powered technologies.
- You are product-focused instead of customer-focused
Traditionally, businesses have followed a product-centric and vendor-led way of handling customer engagements. Simply put, a customer was seen as a one-off encounter, and the end goal for most businesses was simply to make a sale. However, this mindset is increasingly outdated in the modern world, where businesses instead aim to build long-term relationships with customers based around transparency and trust. As such, any successful transformation needs to put customers at the forefront in order to be truly meaningful, as opposed to just being “random acts of digital” that offer no significant benefits or improvements.
- You have points in your consumer (or employee) experience that aren’t being addressed
Once you have a customer-focused mindset, you need to be sure that your customer experience is meeting consumer’s needs and expectations. The modern consumer can be demanding, insisting that brands deliver on all of their promises immediately while offering a seamless experience across every relevant channel. As such, a big part of any customer-centric business transformation effort is going to be identifying the bumps in the road, the touchpoints that either aren’t being addressed or need to be improved upon. Additionally, you should invest just as much time into the employee experience as the customer experience, as the two are closely linked and strongly influence one another.
Ultimately, any business transformation will need to be tailored to the specific needs of your company. The most important thing to keep in mind during these transformation efforts is that you need to open your doors to both the customers and your team. They are the people who will be most directly affected by the changes you are looking to make, so they are the ones whose opinions should matter the most when you are developing your transformation strategy.
Derek Vargas is the Co-Founder & CEO, of SparkOrange. This article was written for Inc. Magazine and appeared online as part of the Inc. Masters series in September 2020. You can view the article on their website below: