Change Management and Training Strategies for Small Businesses
This overview of small business training strategies will focus on both problems and solutions. To start with one of the biggest small business problems, I will emphasize the growing challenge of a six-letter word: Change.
The search goes on by small business owners looking for strategies and solutions that will help them move forward with their marketing and growth plans. This is usually part of a natural process for any company (increasing sales and growing the business). What has become an unnatural part of the process is the need for small businesses to pursue new business solutions because of an extended period of financial instability involving the entire economy. Again, periodic economic uncertainties and problems are normal and to be expected. Nevertheless, economies are not supposed to be on life support for the length of time seen with the current banking, real estate and financial crisis.
The substantial changes that small businesses must adapt to quickly or suffer the consequences seemingly "keep on coming" with no end yet in sight. We are truly in an "Age of Change" which probably means that change is now emulating the weather with sudden and volatile fluctuations. Like the weather, some change can be predicted and anticipated.
The possibility of change can also be planned for and managed. This is what "contingency business planning" is all about, and this advance training approach to change has been a core strategy used by Stephen Bush and AEX Commercial Financing Group for many years to successfully help small businesses cope with numerous financial and business challenges.
- It is a problem and causes many other problems.
- It cannot be ignored without serious consequences.
- The speed and intensity of change appears to be increasing.
- What are small businesses doing about this?
Effective training strategies are one solution to this serious and growing problem. Specialized approaches to small business training can address the entire spectrum of change. The low or early part of what I refer to as the change spectrum is represented by change that has not yet occurred. This is change that can be anticipated in some/many cases and addressed by contingency planning strategies. The middle part of the change spectrum is illustrated by recent or about-to-happen changes. The upper or late part of the change spectrum includes changes that occurred some time ago but have not yet been dealt with acceptably by most impacted parties. A relevant example of the upper/late change spectrum is collectively depicted by the series of changes forced upon individuals and businesses by the recent (and current) banking crisis.
Small business training strategies can help produce multiple benefits for companies when executed effectively. The strategic use of training for small businesses can and should be applied to dealing with problems related to change as well as many other difficulties and risks. Any successful training strategy will be flexible enough to differentiate among a wide variety of variables.
I previously described a "spectrum of change" and the different kinds of change which companies are currently experiencing. For each part of the change spectrum, there should be modifications to the training strategy. Very few small businesses have the luxury of dealing with just one problem or risk at a time.
Despite the value of training, it is not enough in isolation. In almost all cases involving change, a small business owner must be simultaneously looking ahead, behind and immediately in front of them. A prudent strategy for orchestrating the diverse challenges will often include a combination of the following:
- Expert help
- Contingency planning
- Risk management
- Business training
- Change management
Copyright © 2014, Stephen Bush. All rights reserved. AEX Commercial Financing Group