Apr 21, 2015

If It Ain’t Broke, Break It!

In 1789 Benjamin Franklin wrote, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”

Talk about a timeless quote. But what’s becoming even more evident is the pace of change is accelerating.

The playbook that made your company successful may not translate well over the next decade. As branding guru David Aaker writes, “A winning strategy today may not prevail tomorrow. It might not even be relevant tomorrow.”

This is your reality. Embrace it! What made you successful won’t make you successful.

In a few weeks I am speaking at the Family Business Symposium. My advice is simple, “If it ain’t broke, break it!”

Industries Are Fracturing

We can’t predict the future, but we can clearly see the pace of change is accelerating.

As I look over my shoulder I’m blown away with the pace of change over the past fifteen years.

We transitioned from a business world dominated by office towers with phones and faxes to a world where consumers have better tech than companies.

Information is ubiquitous. High speed internet is in your pocket. You can work with anyone anywhere, and you can make a great living working as a solopreneur in your home.

As a result, industries are fracturing and changing.

I saw this in the recruiting sector. In the nineties an average permanent placement agency in Canada had revenue in excess of $15 million. In 2015 the average size of a perm placement agency is less than $500,000, and it’s staffed by people working from their homes or executive office centers.

And this reality tracks through almost every sector: manufacturing, professional services, financial services, hospitality, and more. Everyone has a story of how their business has changed.

Don’t Wait for Change

There are two types of business:

  1. Those who are forced to change.
  2. Those who change before their time.

Guess which ones are dramatically more successful?

To write Sticky Branding (the book) I conducted a comprehensive study of how small- and mid-sized companies are growing incredible brands. Again and again I came across examples of companies that were bucking the trends of their industry and growing very profitable businesses.

A primary difference is their approach to change. The Sticky Brands are innovators. They see the pace of change in their industry as an opportunity and embrace it. They change before everyone else. They try new ideas before everyone else.

It’s an attitude, “Conventions be damned. If it ain’t broke, break it! Let’s find better ways to do things.”

How Will You Approach Change?

I am really looking forward to my talk at the Family Business Symposium. It’s a timely topic, especially for family businesses.

In my presentation I will show you how to embrace change to grow your business through the generations. I will showcase how successful family businesses have been forced to reinvent themselves, and how they overcame significant obstacles to grow into Sticky Brands.

Symposium is one of my favorite events of the year. I learn as much from the participants as I do from the speakers. The conference is on May 20 to 22, 2015. Let’s meet up there.

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