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How agile is your company? If the winds of change blow, are you able to turn on a dime in order to stay competitive—or even alive—in the marketplace? Too often, companies that can’t change quickly can end up left behind, which can even cause their ultimate death.

How does this happen? There are a number of reasons companies can miss the boat as new waves of business come by.

  • Clinging to the past (the way things used to be) or staying “old school” (and not ironically): nostalgia can be great for company culture, but it can be crippling if there’s a resistance to change because it’s unfamiliar, scary, or something “we just don’t do.”
  • Too much red tape: even if change is well-received, red tape and internal barriers can prevent it from even happening. Decision-makers and executors need to have the authority and resources to make necessary changes for the good of the company. Too many delays shut down progress and give competitors the edge.
  • No C-level buy-in: no matter how many employees, managers, and even stakeholders are on board with change, an unwilling C-suite will shut it down. Executives must be in touch with what’s necessary to be agile in the marketplace, and if CEOs, CMOs, CFOs, etc., are at odds with staff, progress will grind to a halt.

Businesses Failing Due to Inability to Embrace Change

Dog Collar Online Store

One once-successful online business found itself in the same space as big players like Chewy and Amazon. They weren’t willing to pivot to stay competitive in the dog collar/pet products space.

Though they had the options to target new niches that Chewy wasn’t, change packaging and delivery options, and incorporate other marketing methods like direct mail to support digital efforts, they did not pursue them and eventually were crushed by the large corporations.

Vitamin/Supplement Company

A vitamin and supplement company locked themselves into a 5-year plan that they were unwilling to deviate from. Rather than regularly revisiting their corporate plan several times per year, the company told their consultant that despite competition aggressively entering their marketplace, their culture did not allow them to pivot quickly. Their insistence that the plans were firm and must be followed by all their employees resulted in a crippled company culture, limited new ideas, and eventual irrelevance as more agile competitors left them in the dust.

Signage Company

A signage company specializing in cabinet displays found its marketplace shrinking as more prospective customers look for digital signage. The company was unwilling to take on digital displays and the programming and support that come with them, but they missed an opportunity to expand their market by outsourcing, developing partnerships, and looking for new product lines to build that would feature their high-end cabinetry.

Getting Help So You Can Turn on a Dime

Sometimes companies aren’t unwilling to change—they just don’t know how. Hiring more staff may not be an option, but a digital consultant or a fractional CMO can be a great resource for out-of-the-box (or “sideways”) thinking. Consider how Airbnb created a new niche based on a familiar concept: practically overnight they took a large market share away from old-school hotel chains. Likewise, Uber and Lyft radically changed paid transportation. Getting help from a professional who can spark ideas and plan their execution can help move a company from being “stuck” to being on the forefront.

Let’s talk about your company, your ability to turn on a dime, and what your dream is for being a leader in your industry!

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