The UK business climate is changing at lightning speed. From AI to Brexit, there’s always something around the corner to disrupt trading conditions and buying habits, and stunt your business growth.

Businesses that survive this rocky ride are those that are willing to get out of their comfort zone; changing their processes, people, service offering, or even their whole culture.

Treading water is not an option in 2019. Businesses need to evolve and innovate if they are to be successful now and into the future.

You probably know this. You may think you’re already ahead of the game. But when did you last take a really good look at your business and what’s happening around you? Are you slipping into complacency without even realising it? Read on to find out how to get out of your comfort zone and grow your business…

Shake Off Complacency…

Doing things the same way year-in and year-out is a sure-fire way to send your business to an early grave.

What worked for you five years ago isn’t necessarily going to work for you now or in the future. The pace of change has been staggering; in technology, politics, the economy and society as a whole. While you’ve been busy running your company, you could have been left behind.

Complacency can sneak up on you slowly until it’s so entrenched you don’t even know it’s there. It’s the single biggest barrier to business growth, and it can be hard to undo.

So how do you combat complacency? First you have to identify if it has happening to you. What is the attitude of your people, all the way up to senior management? Are your teams engaged, your managers leading? Has innovation stagnated? Are you capitalising on opportunities?

Your bottom line might be healthy today, but what’s to say it will stay that way? What will your customers want in the next five years? If you don’t innovate, your competitors will. It’s time to say goodbye to complacency and hello to growing your business.

Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone…

If you think complacency has set in, you need to shake things up. Make yourself uncomfortable; address the issues you’ve been ignoring and tackle the challenges you’ve been putting off.

Start by getting into the mindset of change. If you’re happy with how you currently do things and it’s working, it may seem unnecessary to start changing things up. But thinking about it now will stop you getting caught out in the future.

There are a few areas where making changes can have a big impact and help future-proof your business:

  • Your processes – could they be more efficient?
  • Your service or product offering – is it still meeting customers’ needs? Will it meet their needs next year and beyond? Who will be your customers in three or five years time, and what will they want?
  • Your business plan – is it still relevant or does it need updating in line with your current goals?
  • Your people – are they fully engaged? How will you attract your next generation? What’s your unique employee offer?
  • Your managers – are they inspirational and getting the most out of their teams?
  • Your market and the economy – are there any big disruptors on the horizon?

It’s also crucial to look at the big picture. Daily management can take up your entire focus; you let it because it’s familiar ground and you know what you’re doing.  It’s much harder and scarier to take a step back and look to the future.

Trying to implement change piecemeal may not be very effective either. For example, instead of training or investing in one ‘problem’ team, your entire culture could need a drastic overhaul to inject a fresh burst of enthusiasm and energy company-wide.

Perhaps you feel you’ve stopped innovating and you need something new to offer. How do you make this happen? Innovation comes from people; you need to hire the right people and give them the space and support to come up with creative solutions. Offer them a culture they can get excited about working in, a vision they can invest in and empower them to reach their full potential.

When it comes to competitors, don’t be afraid to look at how they are innovating and jump on the bandwagon (as long as you put your own spin on it). It could be indicative of an upcoming change in buyer trends or customer desires and help you stay ahead of the curve.

Grow Your Business…

Success will not intrinsically breed more success. Without continued effort and input, your business could start to fail. You may have already come through a challenging period and made it to the other side, but this is not the time to hit cruise control. You need to keep pushing to maintain that success.

Once you’ve identified that you’re in the ‘comfort zone’, and established where you need to make changes to break out of it, the next step is implementing them. This is the hardest bit, but I believe change is the secret to sustained business growth. It sounds so simple, but in practice it can be overwhelming.

Like so many things in business, it comes down to people. They are the ones that will make your changes work. No matter how big or small, without your people on board your changes will fail to take hold and make any real impact. Embedding change within your workforce is no easy task, especially if they have sunk deep into complacency. How do you get a disengaged workforce to buy-in to your new company ethos, new service offering or new management structure?

Your people need to feel valued and empowered to be truly engaged and carry your changes through. Show trust, give them motivation and make them feel that their contribution matters to the business and what you are trying to achieve in the wider world.

The comfort zone is nice. You feel confident, and things are ticking along nicely. But only by getting uncomfortable and eliminating complacency can you truly achieve sustainable business growth. We specialise in change programmes and working with your teams and managers to make a success of change. To find out more sign up for my free video series on The CPR Method and how it can transform your business…