Change is all around us. Some change is in our control – like how we price our products or where we promote our service. But most change happens without our direct guidance. Our employees grow new interests and skills. Our clients evolve their needs and desires. Our competition repositions themselves.
Living in New England its easy to see the change of seasons this time of year. The air becomes crisp, the leaves turn golden hues and pumpkins pop up on door steps everywhere. All without our direct intervention.
Long time residents prepare accordingly. We drink gallons of apple cider while it is fresh. We stock up on new rakes for the inevitable piles that will appear in our driveways. And we adjust our internal clocks knowing that soon the sun will set early and we’ll be both waking up and eating dinner in the dark. We make the most of change while it occurs, and prepare for its aftermath – almost automatically.
But I remember the first years I lived in New England. I was always buying my rake too late — forced to pay a premium for the left over, easily broken, stock no one else wanted. I went apple picking foolishly in late October naively thinking there would still be apples on the trees only to find all the good ones had been picked over long ago.
Bottom line – I hadn’t been attuned to the signs of change and as a result my reaction time was too slow.
Our business needs are much the same. Change happens – with or without us paying attention. Are you watching for the signals? They will rarely be as obvious as fall in New England but they are there if you’re watching.
Is your win rate dipping in a particular territory? Is it a poorly performing sales team? Or has the competition experimented with new approaches?
Are customers making fewer support calls?
Do website visitors visit the same pages as they did last quarter?
Is a particular class of customer offering more referrals than usual?
There are dozens of signs of change every day. Watch for them. But more important prepare to respond to them. Even subtle changes can uncover new opportunities or hidden risks.