(As published in the Sunday Star Times, October 25, 2014: http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/small-business/10658449/Move-your-business-furniture)
My kids are quite used to coming home and finding the couch isn’t where it was when they left, or that the dining table has been rotated 180 degrees and shuffled into a different area in their absence. When the urge takes me, I revel in moving around the furniture in my home. Rugs are swapped, art moves walls and chairs are dragged from one corner to another. Sometimes I like the new layout, sometimes I revert back to what I had before. But I’m always treating my home like an oversized Rubik’s cube – seeing if there’s another way, a better fit, a more ideal way of having things. Occasionally I’ll decide that I’m totally over something, like a piece of art, and will get rid of it completely, replacing it with something I love more. My living area is definitely what I’d call a work in progress.
On the other hand, some people I know only move their furniture to vacuum behind it. For them, once they have their layout, they have their layout – forever. They’ve found what works for them and they’re quite happy to never move a couch again. You can visit their house after not having been there for a few years and find that you still know where everything is, because nothing has changed. Nothing has been replaced, nothing has moved, nothing has been added.
It would be interesting to see how these people would operate a business, were they to start one.
Would they determine their marketing strategy and sales proposition, put processes in place, whack up a website and then just run with them for the next decade (if they were very lucky)? Like their home, would they stick with their tried-and-true for as long as possible, only changing once something became obsolete and they were forced to rethink and try something new?
Business is all about moving your furniture. Continually. To be ahead of the pack, you need to be trying new things all the time. You can’t be satisfied with the way you’re doing things, sit back and rest on your laurels. How can you move the furniture in your business? Look at all aspects of it. How do you treat your customers and how can you improve that? What do your financials look like – what can you cut, expand on or sell off? What’s your sales process like? Your marketing collateral? Your social media strategy (if you have one)? Aesthetically, what’s your branding like – your logo, your letterheads, your office or showroom fit-out? Have you thought about your delivery process lately? The way your customers hear from you? Your loyalty scheme? How your website looks or works?
The website is a prime example of the need to change things up in a business. These days, a website is often a potential customer’s first impression of you. Does your website look as professional as your business is? Does it represent the quality of your product or service? Do your customers tell you they wish you sold online, but your website doesn’t have the capability to offer that? Change it up. I know websites can be a major investment and something you hope to not have to redo for ten years, but unfortunately that’s not the reality. Websites date, design dates, technology improves, customers’ desire to find more on the net skyrockets and suddenly your website is looking tired and worn and, quite frankly, obsolete. Move your furniture. Toss what isn’t working and add in the necessary bells and whistles. Revamp your site.
The best businesses I coach come up with best practice – and then they keep searching for an even better way to do it. They innovate. They’re hungry for new ideas. They read voraciously, they ask questions of me as a business coach, they look into how other competitors and industries do things. Leaders in business are always looking for a new and better way to do things. I’d bet they’ve tried their couch in a few different spots too…
For help moving that clunky furniture in your business, email me for some business coaching Auckland: firstname.lastname@example.org; 021 775 660.