Here we go again…reinventing ourselves. As I look back over the last 16 years of consulting small businesses, this will now be the third time my business is being “reinvented.” My sister Sue would say we must be on an eight year cycle, because she reinvents herself every nine years.

The reinventing to which I’m referring relates to doing a deep assessment of all aspects of my business to ensure that our services and relationships are still relevant and growing, determining if the marketplace forces are shifting, determining how technology has evolved and deciding if we’re progressing our company to properly address these issues so that we can continue to thrive.

Part of this process begins with our team taking a step back and evaluating the business from a branding, service, operational and managerial perspective. In addition, reflecting on how we, as individuals, are enjoying the work we perform, the life balance we have and the intrinsic satisfaction with our roles and jobs.

I recently read a book by Dr. Henry Cloud called Necessary Endings. It provides a framework to gain insight into the business, employees and relationships a business owner may have to end in order to move forward. It discusses the importance of pruning areas within your business so that you can focus on the strongest and most promising aspects.

Through this process it’s been amazing how the clarity unfolded – we are ending certain programs that no longer fit within our organization, reestablishing some key relationships while ending others and more importantly, redesigning our service offerings to reach wider and larger audiences.

For example, we’re moving our educational programs online so that we can deliver our knowledge and resources to businesses across the country and reach an audience that we currently do not serve. This format will also require less personnel costs.

We’re redesigning the delivery of our core consulting services – we’ve been testing technology and plan to move our service delivery to iPads vs. hardcopy notebooks. This will help streamline our client workload, and allow us to cut operational costs associated with the notebooks and printing hard copies.

We hired a marketing company to assist us in rebranding and enhancing our messaging. It’s been incredible to go through this process, creating a new and fresh approach to our business which required us to update our website – just launched last week – that will assist us in building relationships through the use of videos and interactive tools.

I guess we could have continued operating as normal and could have had another successful year of growth and serving a diverse client pool. But the reality is that organizations need to reinvent themselves on an ongoing basis to stay relevant and to truly prosper in the long run. I know we can all think of those organizations that have evolved to stay relevant (Apple) as well as those that have not (Blockbuster Video).

Bottom Line

What are you doing to stay relevant within your marketplace or with your clients? When was the last time you stood back and really evaluated your business model, your satisfaction with your role and your business? What are some of the ‘necessary endings’ that you need to make within your organization and relationships in order to allow your organization to move to that next level?

This is another article in a series on Michael’s entrepreneurial story and how being raised in a large family has influenced his career. To read the previous articles in this series, visit his blog at www.Collaboration-llc.com.

Michael Gunther is Founder and President of Collaboration LLC, a team of highly skilled business professionals who are dedicated to assisting proactive business owners to build profitable, sustainable businesses through results-oriented education, coaching, and consulting services. Learn more at www.Collaboration-llc.com.

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