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Change Provides a Threat and an Opportunity

Business needs “to go with the flow.” A mentor of mine used to say you have to “zig and zag” (Fred P Gattas, Gattas Company). Whatever a business owner calls it, you have to evaluate the Change and determine if you can turn a Threat into an Opportunity.

I know people who are sometimes “paralyzed” when a change affects their daily life. Business is the same way. What makes business a challenge is that no two days are alike. A strong executive has to keep attuned to what is happening in this “Flat World.” We are affected by blizzards, floods and heat. The astute executive and team have developed methods and processes, through their strategic planning, to handle such events. In my early days of being in business, we always said that one of our strengths was the ability to “change on a dime.” The big retailers took their time to capture new items for their stores but we, on the other hand, could monitor the marketplace, see the emerging items, and quickly have them on the store shelves. We became the place to shop.

It is important, as an operator and owner, to be able to accept change and to come up with a way to capitalize on the opportunity it creates. You must keep your eyes and ears open to what is going on. You need to understand your competitor. Ken Macke, chairman and CEO of Dayton Hudson, told me that you need to know as much about your competitor as you know about your own business. You need to watch what they are doing. They may already have the new item and you have to be able to change quickly to stay in the “hunt” for business.

Another current example of change—of turning a threat into an opportunity—is how Best Buy has changed their strategy for the consumer. They have recently announced their Buy Back Program that promises to “Future-Proof Your Technology.” They have analyzed that one of the drawbacks of consumers is their concern that “technology changes faster than the weather.” If this is the perception the consumer has, then Best Buy has done something very unique. Why not give a guarantee that, if you buy a product today and see a newer gadget in the future, they will buy it back (maybe not at full value but as much as you will get selling it on the internet or at a garage sale)? That is a positive CHANGE; it is taking advantage of a threat by making it an opportunity.

Business is fun and challenging. It is for the person who embraces CHANGE and knows how to execute a plan to turn threats into opportunities.

Remember, at Elanstrategic, we pride ourselves on “actions to create value.” We understand that threats, opportunities and change help to increase the value of our businesses.