Maybe it’s because we’re still easing into the new year and people are ready for a fresh start, but for some reason I’ve been working with a lot of new clients who are either adjusting their business model or upending it completely. Making a big change to your business can be pretty scary, especially when your reputation and financial security are at stake.
If you feel like you’re in the same boat – something is not quite working and you know you need to make a change – this article is for you. I called up my friend Talmar Anderson to ask her advice, as this is what she does every day (Talmar specializes in helping small business owners navigate through a transitional growth period).
Here’s what she said:
Do a debrief
So many times small business owners are quick to change, but f you don’t dig deep to understand what didn’t work and why, you are living out Einstein’s definition of insanity: doing the same thing and expecting a different result.
- Did people not want to buy what I was selling?
- Was a competitor doing it better, faster, or cheaper?
Even if you’re going to leave the product, service, idea or business model behind, you need to learn the lesson.
Identify the need
“If you build it, they will come” is an idea that was made famous in the movie, Field of Dreams. Unfortunately, it usually does not work this way in real life. Never base monetary decisions or your financial livelihood on what you think. Do the work so you know.
Now that you know what didn’t work the first time, you can start working on a new plan. Identify the industry and then go straight to your prospective clients. Ask them: What do you want or need that others are not offering? Their answers might not sync up perfectly with your ideas, but embrace them.
Confirm that people will pay for it
You already know that people will want it, but it’s critical to confirm that people will pay for it. Too many small business owners skip this step – don’t! Test your idea on a smaller scale, and keep testing and tweaking process and price until your test group gives you the thumbs-up.
Build a new business model
You’ve confirmed that people want and will pay for your new product or service. Only now can you build a new business model and push it out to the market. Don’t let your past failure stop you. It’s perfectly OK that your original idea did not work out. You tried, you failed, you learned from your mistakes, and you grew as a person.
Have you tweaked, slightly changed, or completely upended your business model? What did you learn from the experience?
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