The past few years have proven challenging for many small business owners as they adjusted, pivoted, modified and realigned to meet the changes they faced.
Some businesses were not prepared for what 2020/2021 brought and sadly closed their doors. However, others positioned themselves to take advantage of the opportunity to rethink and reimagine their business to meet the needs of their customers.
While it may take facing a disaster for some business owners to examine and explore opportunities to improve their business, continuous improvement is a critical component to success in any business – regardless of size or sector.
Continuous improvement is an ongoing process that focuses on:
- Identifying opportunity for improvement and planning for change.
- Implementing small-scale change and analyze the results.
- Applying the successful change on a wider scale.
- Assessing continuously and beginning the cycle over.
I have seen several business owners work on continuous improvement even while going through challenging times. One woman closed her business in one location and found an opportunity to reopen successfully in another location by collaborating with an existing business owner. Another family business had just launched as the pandemic began spreading and they worked creatively for almost eighteen months to stay in business before they could safely open to the public.
These examples of determination and resolve to succeed were accomplished by people working together to achieve a goal. To some degree we could say that they were reacting to changes brought about by a disaster rather than by creating an action plan for change, but they made it work. All businesses could benefit by continually looking for opportunities to improve and analyzing the data to make sure changes bring about results regardless of what is happening in the world.
Businesses that have continuous improvement as part of their strategic plan are better positioned to withstand natural disasters, limited resources, or whatever comes their way. Even solopreneurs can work together with support teams – virtual or otherwise – to creatively look for ways to stay ahead of the business curve. Just think how much better businesses that already have teams in place are positioned to use their collective expertise to keep the business primed for success.
Does your business have a continuous improvement plan? This could be another tool to add to your toolbox. Let me know if you need support in putting together your continuous improvement plan.