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Infusing your company with a disruptive mentality

You can either embrace change or reject it, remaining rigid as the industry changes around you

Mar 4, 2019 @ 11:33 am

By Eric Clarke

In a previous article, I discussed the pivotal role that continuing disruption plays in sustained company success. Now I'll delve deeper into how you can infuse your company with a disruptive mentality.

Change is the only constant in business, and the rate of change is ever-increasing. You can either embrace change by adapting your business to the broader market; or reject it, remaining rigid as the industry changes around you, potentially devastating your livelihood.

A brutal look in the mirror

Conducting an analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, or SWOT, is the simplest and most effective way to evaluate your company. The key is being brutally honest about weaknesses. That may not come naturally to most people, but it's essential to put aside ego as you analyze.

A business coach once told me, "If you identify a weakness and don't address it, you have no desire to be in business five years from now. Since you're not willing to change what's causing your team to lose opportunities today, it will only continue in the future."

Businesses don't magically change on their own. Active adaptation is necessary in order to thrive. Identifying weaknesses entails more than just calling an executive meeting to discuss them. You need to conduct a 360-degree review that seeks feedback from clients, prospects, and even companies that previously declined business opportunities with you. Remember, you can learn far more from the contracts and partnerships that didn't happen. Don't take rejection personally. View it as an opportunity to improve.

Competitor consideration

You can't disrupt yourself in a vacuum. You need to keep an eye on what your competitors are doing, too. What developmental steps have these companies taken and how are they positioning themselves in the market? When evaluating potential threats, you need to stimulate innovative ideas to shape the future of your business.

After accumulating market research data and identifying company weaknesses, put an action plan in place to quickly convert weaknesses into strengths. Often your solutions may require staffing changes or raising additional capital. Two considerations should take precedence when deciding which aspects of your business to disrupt:

1. How do I create a better client experience?

2. How do I implement additional efficiencies?

Focusing on experience and efficiency offers excellent opportunities to improve, which is the fundamental point of disruption.

New entrepreneurs should seek to surpass the client experience and efficiency offered by established companies. The old guard, in turn, should emphasize continuously upgrading their own efficiency and quality of service. Competition can make us all better entrepreneurs, as long as we embrace constant change and challenges to our positions in the market.

Eric Clarke is the founder and CEO of Omaha, Neb.-based Orion Advisor Services.

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