It is said that businesses at any given point are either growing or dying. Business cycles ebb and flow, changing with market demand. Emerging markets appear and disruptive technology supplants. Consumers now pay more for local product and socially conscious brands. The business world, as we know it, is ever evolving and adapting to the ever-changing market.
Established businesses face a unique challenge: appeal to the future or idle upon the present. Startups don’t have this pressure. The startup is a child of the now: innovative and present tense. The startups’ senior adversary, the established business, must work to remain atop.
The common scenario exists in which younger members of the established brand push for change. Preaching modernization, the newest members of the organization yearn to propel. New markets, advertising mediums, and opportunity await.
Yet the senior members typically resist. Growth means change and change is naturally resisted. It is outside the comfort zone and a departure from the proven realm of success. Tenured members wrestle with the internal dilemma of balancing the need to remain current and leaving demonstrable success.
The decision to change an established business is a powerful one.
The key to successful expansion and growth is avoiding an adverse impact on the existing core business. The core is the essential business unit upon which current success is premised. The core is the primary function of the business; its most profound product or service. Unless the existing core is to be trashed, it must be preserved, since it is the current lifeline of the establishment’s success. Paradoxically, the essential business unit permitting expansion could endanger its own wellbeing.
Established businesses must grow while remaining true to its core. Business growth should occur upon the foundation of the core business unit. Prior to launching the new product or service, the current business must be analyzed. Logistical channels, processes, and support structures should be studied and then later replicated in the new realm. Growth should only occur if the former unit remains intact. Prior to launch, ask – “Can we logistically manage the new, without harming the former?” Continually revisit the former business unit to evaluate and ensure its vitality. Monitor progress in the new and the established. Continuously evaluate.
The established core should have strong training programs and principles. Borrow these systems and apply to the new. Maintain integrity throughout the organization, by keeping the core principles throughout each new project or program.
Work to integrate people from different subgroups, into the collective whole. The new business unit should be assimilated within the company culture. Members of the former business unit should be made to feel valued, not retired, nor superior to new team members. New management should respect predecessors, interweaving existing strategy within the future framework.
Growth is a challenge and does not occur without work and a departure from the present comfort zone. In order to successfully expand, businesses must identify their core business unit and preserve it as the lifeline of the company. Apply the core model to each new project when growing. In the new unit, replicate principles and training programs to retain organizational consistency. Change is uncomfortable in any environment, but it is the adaptable business, which understands and protects its core business unit, who not only survives each business cycle, but also grows through them.
It is said that business are either growing or dying. The truth is that without proper planning, you can actually do both.