Change the Course of Your Business with One Letter
Sep 08, 2020 / By Vanessa Horwell
Embracing the inevitable becomes a lot easier when you do
Like the title implies: Change is inevitable.
When your company has evolved and survived for nearly two decades, you witness a lot of change. Like anything new, you struggle with it at first, then learn to adapt and embrace it. Think about the rise (and stranglehold) of social media. The decline of traditional PR and changing news cycles. The long-time-coming-and-there-it-was-digital shift that walloped marketing practices and media. Some of us at ThinkInk started our careers well before those disruptions.
Change is intimidating. But its never-ending drumbeat shouldn’t scare us. It should challenge us to grow and lead in more positive ways.
Change < chance
These two words are very similar. The only difference? One letter. But that single variation turns the word's meaning upside down.
Allow change (even overwhelming ones like a pandemic and a global lockdown that alter the course of your business) to be your chance to re-examine what you do (and why), and excel at what you are great at.
Embrace and accept change as a chance to make mistakes, learn from them and take on new perspectives.
It’s a method our agency has practiced for years, and the payoff has been enriching. Taking chances – some less calculated than others - opened so many doors we wouldn’t have passed through otherwise. Mind you, not all led us to the right places. But many did, and we are better for it.
Taking a chance on change could do the same for your business.
Although Churchill made this statement about rebuilding the United States after World War II, his sentiment applies to the myriad changes impacting our societies in the decades since. From a recession to another polarizing election and now an “unprecedented” pandemic, we’re a lot more capable at adapting to change than we think.
Moments like the Great Recession, the debt crisis of 2011 and now, this seemingly unending coronavirus shape our collective stories. ThinkInk wouldn’t be the company it is today without those challenging and redefining moments. Our agency discovered the untapped potential of B2B PR during The Great Recession. We retooled as a business communications firm after the Debt Crisis. And now, through this latest crisis, we’re discovering other untapped areas for growth by bringing together account-based marketing principles, digital and sales enablement for our clients.
Rapid changes create unique opportunities to excel in leaps and bounds. But only if you give change a chance to advance your business.
Try new approaches to finding customers. Rethink how you stay connected with current ones and understand what they need from you now that everything is so different. Reconsider how you invest in digital marketing and whether you’re in the right channels for your type of business.
You won’t always land on your feet. But trying and learning (and maybe failing at first) is far better than doing nothing at all.
We made mistakes. What did we learn?
Navigating the path through change isn’t a straight light, and making the right decisions isn’t a given. We know – we’ve made plenty of wrong ones.
In our rebrand as a business communications agency, we rewrote our messaging. We decided it was a smart move to remove every instance of ‘PR’ or ‘PR agency’ from our website because we wanted to be known as more than a PR agency.
It turned out that was a dumb – and damaging - move.
We lost our organic web traffic. And no one was seeking us out as a “business communications partner” back then. Even though we wanted companies to think about us differently and recognize that we offered more than PR services, their perception of what they thought they needed was stuck at ‘PR.’ And so they searched exactly for that - and didn't find us.
We had removed a large part of our history and the value we offered clients… and ended up temporarily hurting for it. We course corrected, learned from our serious misjudgment and trudged forward.
So even if your mistakes seem colossal in retrospect, they’re an educational and in many cases, a redefining moment.
How can your company excel through change?
Companies and business leaders are searching for answers. We all are. Not all the lessons we have learned might apply to you, but this is how we look at embrace changing, no matter the circumstances:
- Understand that what is happening is an opportunity to learn and grow. How we did things in January isn’t going to work anymore (or for a while)
- Accept that you probably won’t get it right the first time… or second. Or maybe even the third. And that’s okay
- Approach the unknown as a challenge to improve what you offer and how you do it, instead of retreating. No one ever got fired for being bold or bringing new ideas to the table
Don’t be indifferent. Don’t resign yourself to waiting it out. Do something different, even if it’s only a bit. Use this climate of change to take a chance, or several.
Because a crisis is a terrible thing to waste.
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