“Ideas are useless unless used. The proof of their value is in their implementation. Until then, they are in limbo.”
So said Theodore Levitt way back in 1974 in his book, Marketing for business growth. What remains just as relevant today is the understanding that there’s a world of difference between having a plan and putting that plan into action, and why, in changing business conditions, it’s more important than ever.
It’s a tough time for businesses. Disruption is prompting many to pivot and rethink the way things have always been done. If like many other business owners, you’ve considered introducing new business processes, services or products, the next step that will determine your success or failure, is implementation.
As Theodore pointed out in our opening quote, it’s one thing to come up with an idea that has the potential to improve your business productivity or profitability, but something else to come up with the implementation plan.
In the property industry, for example, COVID-19 restrictions have prompted many developers and real estate agents to adopt new methods for property inspections. Tools including video and virtual reality tours were already being used by some in the industry, however many agents and sales teams have had to rapidly learn to implement them more frequently. Many have had to go to great lengths to customise their approach to achieve the cut-through and ‘personality’ required to connect with clients more familiar with being able to see and experience a property, and property agent, in person.
This has required leadership and support from the top down. Implementation can’t be left to chance or the goodwill (or enthusiasm, or not) of your team. Change is always challenging, and individuals need support and direction for turning ideas into new habits, routines and outcomes.
As we regularly reflect, leadership (good or not-so-good) usually defines the way in which businesses deal with the uncertainty and change ahead. The business leaders that have survived and thrived throughout the pandemic are those that have successfully engaged their teams, initiated new conversations, proactively sought feedback and, as we’re discussing here, implemented ideas to bring them to fruition.
3 tips for successful implementation
It’s the obvious place to start but the value of good communication within a business can never be overstated. Articulate and discuss new ideas with your team and seek feedback around the feasibility of implementation. Start with face to face communication and then make sure it’s backed up in team meetings, staff emails and other internal communications resources used in your organisation.
Ideas that move beyond the drawing board will often require training or upskilling. This could range from a one-hour video call to introduce a new tool to more formal training programs. It’s important to select the training options that work for your team and ensure everyone is engaged. A successful training period will ensure your team feels that the change is taking place ‘with’ them rather than ‘to’ them.
The value of delegation goes beyond simply lightening your workload. Implementation is much more effective when you are not the only person seen to be ‘in charge’. Nominate others to manage implementation – this will help to ensure they’re engaging with the new processes and, more importantly, they will feel valued and assume ownership for embedding the change.
Assess whether there are opportunities in your business for improvement, or even better, innovation.
Then, communicate with your team (including any external advisers or contractors who are important to your business) that you are looking for new ideas that address business improvement and innovation.
When you are offered new ideas, consider them through a new lens rather than being drawn back to what is familiar or what’s traditionally been done.
Tease out the required investment of time and money in context of the return on investment in generating new business, greater profitability, increased productivity or bonus or unexpected outcomes that could be valuable for your business.
Consider existing resources, possible grant or funding opportunities and any training that may be required.
For more information about surviving and thriving in changed business conditions, and to understand how committing to implementation can influence the financial position of your business including improved revenue, cash flow, profitability, please give us a call.
Core Business Accountants specialise in business advice for growing and mature family-owned and small and medium-sized businesses. If you need business advice about any of the above topics, please get in touch with us on 5438 8088 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.corebusiness.com.au.