Having experienced several different iterations of entrepreneurship, I can share these four truths about flexibility: 1) If you can’t bend and flex when the winds of change slap you in the face, you might break; 2) If you’re not seeking out opportunities and/or reasons to change (which exhibit your flexibility), you risk staying in the same place and stagnating, creating an opportunity for your competitors to pass you by; 3) Flexibility forms the foundation for renewal and reinvention and opens up new opportunities that you may have never considered; and 4) Weaving flexibility into every facet of your organization most often leads to positive outcomes, because it inspires enthusiasm and injects a “can do” attitude at all levels of the company.
- Say you lose two of your best customers. And to add insult to injury, the primary supplier of components for your most successful manufactured product goes bust and the distributor no longer accepts orders under a certain threshold (so your orders no longer qualify). You’re devastated, paralyzed by fear about not being able to replace the customers, the supplier or the distributor. Do you spend days mourning and worrying and thinking about how bad the situation is? NO! You shift focus — pronto. You spring into action, find a new supplier for your product (or design and manufacture a whole new product), then get cracking on announcing to current and prospective customers that you have a new product line and a new distribution channel. Before you know it, you’ve attracted new customers and everything’s back to humming right along.
- Seek out reasons to be flexible and then announce your new direction to your customer base. Conduct trends analysis and implement customer satisfaction surveys. Identify and explore possibilities to refine your product and service offerings to help you stay on the cutting edge of your industry or your market niche. Then explain your “new developments” to your target audience. “We learned that the new thinking in the production of plastic goods for the healthcare industry is shifting toward more eco-friendly materials,” or “Our customer survey showed that we weren’t following up soon enough after delivery to avoid hassles and frustration in installing the products.” Be flexible ahead of the need and communicate the story — and you’ll be seen as a flexible, proactive company that customers are happy to do business with.
- So you’re forced to move out of an office building you’ve been in for years and you’re angry. Or you’re uprooted by a move across the country to join your spouse after his or her new venture requires the move. Give yourself about two days to get over the anger, then put a plan in place. Keep your eye on the prize (fresh new space, a chance to get rid of a bunch of junk stored in every nook and cranny in the office, a new neighborhood to explore and adapt to). Once it’s over, you’ll find the change was energizing and it presents a whole new way of being: you’re refreshed, renewed, and open to reinvention.
- Rigidity in corporate structure and strategies is more likely to lead to failure. In contrast, corporate executives and owners of SMBs who understand the values the benefits of flexibility are more likely to view themselves and their businesses as “future-proof.” Knowing they can bend and flex with the winds of change (or be in front of the need to change through trends forecasting or customer-happiness surveys) makes them more confident and collaborative in their customer relationships than those who resist being forward-thinking.
What does ANY of this have to do with writing, which is what this website is all about? Every single one of these scenarios points to the need for a lot of new content (in the way of whitepapers, ghostwritten blog posts, new landing pages and product pages, press releases, email campaigns announcing changes, newsletters providing details, and other marketing and advertising communications).
So if and when you face challenges that might be considered uncomfortable or unsettling, be flexible. Think through the best and most efficient ways to move forward, and if you don’t have anyone on staff to help you communicate with your customers and prospective customers about the changes, find a skilled writer and communicator to help you hone your message and ensure your customers see you’re on the cutting edge of change. I’m available within a few hours for a consultation. Contact me for a free 30-minute consultation. We’ll discuss your needs and my products and services.
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