Changing direction, future challenges

Changing direction often takes courage.

Changing direction for a better future

Changing direction as you go, is a lot easier in small increments, than trying to play catch-up. When I was writing this post, I immediately recalled my visit to the warship Belfast in London, marvelling at one thing. How they managed to put all the important things together in order to make it a great fighting ship. It inspired me to go home and build a better fighting business.

Have you ever felt like you need to do things your way because this is what makes you comfortable and it is the way you have always done things? But, today doing things your way can impact your organisation negatively or affect the lifestyle you are trying to achieve. There is a link between the things you do, the way you do them, and the outcomes you get. Would you rather be more successful at what you do, or would you rather just do things your own way?

When you compare where you are now with where you want to be, do you often feel frustrated and defeated? Sometimes, when you are changing direction it can be difficult to see trees for the leaves because you have become bogged down in detail. When your dreams are big, progress can feel slow and change direction will be more difficult. A ‘reality check’ might be just what you are looking for, http://goo.gl/cOJ7ft.

In the modern business world, patience and perseverance are important attributes required to bring about a changing direction. While ‘knee-jerk’ reactions might bring about some change they are rarely sustainable, particularly where major changes are required.

Don’t be confused with becoming action orientated, small actions quickly add up

  • Find a peaceful and inspiring place. A place where you can relax, think, reflect and take notes about your future. Make sure you write down all your thoughts and identify your strengths. Don’t be judgemental you can priorities and delete later.
  • Let go of the past successes, mistakes and failures. The past shouldn’t be an issue, it’s behind you. Learn from the past but don’t let it inhibit your thinking about your future, which must be different. Direction only changes when you stop following yesterday’s course.
  • Reconnect with the dream. How will you make a difference, be specific? Revisit your vision for the future and reassess and confirm your beliefs and aspirations. What will the future you desire really look like, how long will it take and cost?
  • Climb down from the clouds. Accept your current situation, wishing things were different only drains you. Don’t beat yourself up and don’t blame others. Start making small adjustments. Create a one-page Business Plan, target and narrow your niche.

Take action to change your future today

  • You can actually change direction today. If you want new results tomorrow, you must start today. Will new way of thinking help to move you forward from the status quo? What are the first three actions you will take?
  • What is holding you back? Identify the problems and frustrations that are holding you back, or blocking the way forward for you? Who can help you and how can you excite them to keep helping you to make the necessary changes. Innovation should be at the heart of any worthwhile changes.
  • Start again. If you can’t start again you will maintain the status quo and the problems and frustrations will continue. Take a minute and choose to take the first action. Start anywhere, perfection and procrastination must be eliminated.
  • Engage supporters and resources. They are the building blocks you can use to start building on. Keep in mind because “it’s too hard doing it by yourself”. Come up with a unique story behind the changes. The right resources will be attracted to the right ideas.
  • Identify and eliminate ineffective practices and bad habits. It takes more courage to stop than it does to start. Doing the same old things in the same old ways is insanity, nothing will change. Add words like, ‘today’, ‘now’ and’ Nike’, to all conversations.
  • Look after your health and well-being. Eat well, exercise well and get plenty of sleep. Go to sleep wondering, “What good things can I do tomorrow to take my business and my life to where I want it to go”?

Consider taking up some of the new technologies

The unprecedented growth of cloud computing, social media and analytics today, can be measured in the number of users, media reports, analyst papers, conferences and blogs on the subject. Organisations of all sizes across most industry sectors are increasingly investigating where, when and how to take advantage of the rapidly expanding assortments of new technologies available. They want to keep up and to bring about necessary changes in the future of their organisations.

Unfortunately many will have the same old problems nagging them and their vision for the future, a blurred mess, lacking change strategies. Whatever is holding you back needs to change and the sooner the better. Many feel the frustration of having a vision but are not able to reach it, for one reason or another.

drone-to-deliver-a-service

Why not use a drone to deliver a service or to keep an eye on your remote projects?

 

You may have a vision or a goal but something is stopping you. What is it and how can you achieve some of your major goals this year? What are your change strategies that are blocking your progress, http://goo.gl/psw4QV?

Changing your financial situation can be difficult

The financial state of a business is arguably the thing which causes the most problems. Often people pretend they have their situation under control, but in reality, they are very much out of control and are suffering along with their families. In fact, many family breakups are caused by poor financial management.

There are many things you can do, but running and hiding from such issues is not recommended. Following are some tips to assist you in changing your financial situation for the better. Keep in mind the 80/20 rule, pick the relevant top three or four and start taking action.

Put all your finances together and have a great fighting business

Financially savvy people have the agility and can change their future direction quickly and safely. You should do everything in your power to become financially savvy in order to improve your agility. Sure you might have a good accountant or a good finance broker, but you need to understand the ins and outs of money as it affects your organisation. Failure to do so leaves you vulnerable and likely to failures and to missed opportunities, http://goo.gl/5MfMnK.

Analyse your sales performance

Most people’s future direction will be linked to sales performance. No sales, no money to do things with. Do you have the marketing campaigns and manpower to get the sales you want, in order to have the money you want personally and need to run and grow the business into what you want it to be? More often than not, it is the lack of profitable sales causing the financial problems and this vibrates back to the families involved.

Empty the cash traps

The cash traps are your debtors, inventory and obsolete plant and equipment. Too often they are allowed to run wild and it is one area that can have an immediate impact on your financial position. Tighten up your credit policy and enforce it, quit your dead or slow moving stock while keeping your inventory within specified limits and dispose of obsolete or underused plant and equipment. Poor use of your cash resources will impede your planned future direction.

Know the numbers

Look at some key numbers; sales, margins, gross profit, expenses, net profit. Know your industry numbers, what similar businesses do, what the industry averages for sales, margins, expenses and profits are. You are now in a position to make changes to improve the bottom line for your business.

By comparing your own figures with those of the best in the industry you can start to improve your financial performance. Simply by finding out how they manage to obtain the numbers they do.

Create a budget that works

“It’s too hard”, “they never work out”, should not be an excuse for not having a budget. Without a budget you are like a pilot flying a plane at night without any instruments; a crash will more than likely be the outcome. Even an elementary budget can help you to better plan ahead and you will get better and better the more you do it.

Focus on cash flow

Too often, business owners think they don’t need a budget because they can keep track of business expenses and cash without one. A cash flow plan is critical for a business’s future. You need to plan for the slow times of the year and put aside a contingency reserve. You may need to establish a line of credit as a backup until reserves can be built up.

Why people resist change

Change is with us whether we like it or not. Many people dislike it when they should be using it to their advantage. While others are shocked when their organisations don’t immediately embrace changes and the possible opportunities that might be involved. As a business owner or manager you might see the need for changing direction, however, your stakeholders may resist it for one reason or another.

Saying “it’s too hard doing it by yourself” is very relevant here because in most cases it takes an outsider to facilitate many of the aspects of change. The outsider has no axe to grind. If they are experienced, they will be able to run meetings and workshops effectively and efficiently, identifying what needs to change. They can counter any resistance and introduces methodologies and processes. Assisting in the generation of ideas and opportunities from the changes is key.

Here are some ways to spot resistance

  • People are unenthusiastic, because past initiatives have failed, or they don’t understand.
  • Everyone seems lethargic and task completion times slip because productivity is suffering.
  • They see no value in the change, for them personally.
  • Resistance because their opinions were not sorted before any decisions were made.
  • They start asking for an exemption to any changing direction because thy don’t like the direction.
  • People hide behind the old ways of doing things so they don’t have to take risks or look silly.
  • Lack of support for the change, so everyone is looking to find excuses.
  • Poor attendance at meetings and lacklustre performances.
  • Increased absenteeism.
  • Complaints about no time to learn new skills.
  • People seem to be bored and uninspired.
  • Hostile and cynical comments abound.
  • Acts of sabotage are commonplace due to the changing direction.

Think of change as having both a technical and a social aspect. The technical aspects of the change are the making of a measurable modification in the physical routines. Any social aspect of change refers to the way those affected will alter the established relationships you have.

The time to act is now

The hard decisions have to be made to change your situation from what it is now to what you would like it to be. Become action oriented, starting today start changing direction for the better.

When looking for a change, you will find that most breakthroughs are usually based on just one big idea, with good execution and your ability to see what’s happening and to act on it. The rest is doing the things you already know how to do, the things you’ve seen before, but doing it wonderfully well. You probably don’t need yet another new idea to make the changes you want. Better to figure out what to do with the ideas you already have.

Following is a simple formula for making changes:

Your current situation is a result of:

The conversations and actions you have taken in the past.
Along with the deas, knowledge and values to which you have been exposed.
Will impact the way your conversations are causing you to think.
So, if you change your conversations

It will change your ideas and the knowledge you receive.
That will change the way you feel and the way you think.
Which will change the choices you make and the actions you take.
Which will change your future direction to something akin to what you want?

Don’t just make a vague attempt to cut costs and increase sales as a way of changing direction. Put your ideas into a Business Plan and start to share it with your family, friends and other stakeholders. Business can be ‘too hard doing it by yourself’. Why not make this year the time you make lasting changes to improve your business, your personal and financial life.

Guidelines for making a significant change

While changing your direction and building a successful new future is not the easiest thing in the world, but it is certainly an achievable goal. It doesn’t necessarily require a lot of money and it doesn’t even require that you have more talent than the average punter. However, making a significant change does require you to follow the sound and well-established principles.

Good planning is critical

A good business model, business plan, value chain and a budget you can rely on, is critical to building a good business. Without these things you are merely going to be ‘winging it’ and that will make the journey more complicated that it needs to be. A change management plan will also be of great benefit.

Don’t waste your time on unnecessary activities

Tasks, like watching TV, reading a magazine or talking on the phone with friends, should all be done after completing your important tasks for the day. However, you do need to relax during your work time. Procrastination is at the heart of low-level unnecessary activities and will only keep you from achieving the change you are looking for.

Focus on high impact activities you can control

You have limited hours to work each day, so make sure that those hours go toward activities that will make the changes more quickly. Focus on activities with the highest positive impact that put you in the best position to keep making the changes. Increase your level of fitness so you can manage your time and resources better.

Focus on your strengths

Know your reason ‘why’ and understand your passion for changing direction. Reconnect with why you started what you are doing in the first place. Put the ‘fire in your belly’ and focus everything on the activities that will propel you into changing direction.

Don’t rely on your own understanding

What do you do when changing direction, is not working out? Seek help from external people who have practical experience with your proposed change in direction. People who can fearlessly provide you with objectivity and perspective. It’s important to expand your mindset and train yourself to look for viable options in the midst of a challenging future.

Become action orientated

Without action, nothing happens. Be in the habit of constantly taking the necessary actions to bring about the change, no matter how small each action might be. Don’t make your situation more complicated than it needs to be, break down large projects into small doable tasks and don’t rely on luck.

Gather the team to help you in changing direction

Making changes can be ‘too hard doing by yourself’ because you simply can’t do everything that need to be done. How will you attract the right people to help you think things through and take all the necessary actions? Ensure that they have the necessary knowledge and practical experience to help you, not just your mates in the pub.

Reinvest your profits

Reinvest your profits because you must constantly invest in changing direction as you adjust to the future you want. While it is exciting to make a profit from the change, don’t be tempted to blow the money on unimportant things. The money is better served staying in the business to accelerate the changes you are looking for. It certainly beats going into debt to maintain a good level of working capital.

Quotable quotes

Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything”. George Bernard Shaw

“The biggest problems in the world could have been solved when they were small, simply by changing the conversations”. Peter Sergeant

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