Is Change the Future of Your Industry?

time for change sign

by Jim Downes

Staying at the forefront of change is imperative as a business owner. You can never assume that “business as usual” will be the way forward.

There is no better depiction of this reality than the major disruption that COVID-19 has caused across countless industries, and how we’ve all had to respond. This past year has forced companies to adapt like never before. While many succeeded, others failed to pivot and went out of business as a result.

The book “Who Moved My Cheese?” by Dr. Spencer Johnson effectively illustrates this concept of change versus stagnation. Through a parable about two mice, Johnson describes by example how to effectively manage change and succeed.

The two mice in “Who Moved My Cheese?” go to the same place every day for food, but as time goes on there is less and less cheese. One of the mice decides to be adventurous and finds a new place where he can be fed. In the end, trying something new worked for him, and he lives happily ever after. The other mouse keeps doing what he has always done, but the cheese supply runs dry and he finally withers and dies.

As times change, seeking out new avenues is essential to the life of your business. One example of this changing landscape can be found in the automobile industry, as companies such as Tesla reinvent what it means to buy a car. Bypassing the traditional car salesmen and large dealership properties, Tesla now makes it easier than ever to buy your car over the internet, in the comfort of your own home — which is truly reflective of the “new normal” we’ve all found ourselves in.

The automobile industry is just the tip of the iceberg — adapting to the future is something that all industries and brands need to prioritize. Finding a strategy to continue to find increasingly profitable customers, even as the world transforms, is key.

In order to be equipped to help our clients deal with this issue, I’ve recently completed my CRO Thinking training, through professional marketing consulting firm The Revenue Game. The CRO Thinking model helps you escape the commodity trap and pivot seamlessly into products and services that are highly valued by customers, so you can stay on the leading edge of your industry, akin to how the auto industry is pivoting into an exciting and increasingly profitable future.

We have a client in the construction industry. They did a lot of construction work for shopping center developers and retail centers. When the pandemic hit, many of the projects they were planning to work on for the balance of 2020 were canceled. We helped them create a marketing strategy around what retailers needed to do to create a safe shopping environment in their stores. As a result, starting in July of 2020, they began to pick up a lot of projects with retailers who were looking to open their stores back up when the pandemic receded and needed to make renovations to their shopping space.

Another client was in the plastics industry, they pivoted to become a major seller of face masks that were designed and manufactured by one other their plastic industry suppliers. With respect to Blueprint, we began offering a fixed cost PPP loan application product which was successful in helping us attract 10 new clients.

Sometimes the need to change isn’t as evident as what the coronavirus brought upon us. It may be more subtle than a major pandemic. Being aware of what your customer is looking for and being open to change in your business model is paramount to building a long-term stable business. Just like the car industry is moving toward electric vehicles so too is the bicycle industry. Our clients in the bicycle industry are pivoting in the e-bike space and are working to post high growth by offering cool and unique electric bikes.

About the author

Jim Downes is a Fractional Chief Financial Officer and the Founder of Blueprint CFO, a data-driven accounting & CFO services firm based in Orange County, California. A forward-looking strategist, Jim and his team provide a competitive advantage over typical CFOs.