Planning for Change in Business

If you sense the need to navigate swiftly changing currents, use these five basic strategies:

  • Test assumptions: Take time to consider the assumptions on which your enterprise is based to assess how sturdy they are.

  • Bracket expectations: During uncertain times, smart companies think about what would happen if sales or material availability fell off or soared beyond the norm, exactly as professional photographers take the same picture at different exposures, just to make sure they get the perfect shot.

  • Have a Plan B: Your business plan is your Plan A. If you're competing in a rapidly changing marketplace, sketch out a Plan B — the steps you'll take if something unexpected happens. You don't have to go into great detail. Just chart the direction you would take so if something happens, you're ready.

  • Seek reliable sources of information: Predictions are most likely to prove correct if they're based on the best available information, whether from industry-based journals, business reports, trustworthy newspapers, or market assessments from reliable sources.

  • Track changes: Keep scanning the horizon for signs of change — for example, results from a technology pilot project, a survey on changing customer trends, or a business article that tips you off to something brewing. You always want to be asking: How could that affect the business we're in?

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