Like any tree or bush, a business needs pruning and shaping after a certain period of time. In business parlance, it is called, ‘streamlining.’ Here is a quick look into why this is a crucial step in the long term success and survival of any business.
Changes in Market
Naturally, any start-up will carefully evaluate their target market when they start out and cater their products or services accordingly. Over time however, their products and services may change and evolve to the point that, in 10 years, their target market may have changed. Many businesses still carry on as if nothing has changed, refusing to conduct market research because it is an ‘unnecessary’ and ‘additional’ cost. By conducting periodic market research, a company will be able to understand and adapt to changes in their target market as well as other environmental factors that may have caused a change in their sales.
Changes in Employment
Most businesses start off with small teams, usually less than 10 members. When the group is small and working hard to make the business a success, they build up a rapport and bond that is hard to break. It also fosters a sense of exclusivity. As companies expand, they often struggle to bridge the gap between the original workers and the newcomers. If they do not implement induction, mentorship, and corporate recognition programs, there will be tensions between the OGs who feel entitled and the newbies who feel more up-to-date.
Changes in Pipeline
Again, a company starts off with all hands on deck, with the founder usually working alongside his/her team in order to get the company off the ground. As the company grows, it forms a corporate pipeline, with the CEO at the top and other original members of the company heading various departments. By the 10 year mark, most companies have forgotten that the reason they managed to carve out their niche and become successful is because of their daring, audacious and original ideas. Most companies will freeze new employees with good ideas simply because they haven’t ‘paid their dues.’ Around the 10 year mark, it is important to re-evaluate the current situation and shake things up a bit; implement employee engagement programs that will bring a steady supply of bold ideas to the table. Click here for more info on employee engagement programs.
Changes in Management
One of the most difficult decisions a company faces is when to ask a founding member to step down because their ideas and approach are not working for the company any more. Many original employees are offended when this is suggested but it is simply part of the natural process of a company’s growth. If you have won promotion after promotion and have been at one position for a while, it may be time to consider early retirement, or a change of jobs. It is easy to become too comfortable in a place and that is detrimental to yourself as well as the company you are running. Businesses require new ideas and vigour to survive the competitive business world and there are plenty of other things you can do to challenge yourself.