As a current or soon-to-be home business owner, you have an ever-expanding vocabulary of terms — including some choice, colorful words for the neighbor’s dog that, somehow, always seems to know precisely when you’re on an important call so that he can start barking at nothing in particular (maybe he just needs his own Skype account?).
However, of all the concepts that are part of your world, one clearly stands out and apart as the most important, because it — more than any other — will determine whether your home business journey is rewarding or regrettable. No, the word isn’t focus. It’s not drive. It’s not persistence, patience, or even passion. Obviously, these are critical pieces of the puzzle. But the one thing that determines success or failure is, not surprisingly when you think about it, arguably the most emotionally-charged word that exists: change.
Indeed, the fact that you’re running (or about to run) a home business is evidence of change itself. A few decades ago, the only people who could run a legitimate, viable and profitable home business were highly skilled specialists like lawyers and doctors. But these days, everyone from graphic designers to eBay e-tailers can work from home; and not just to eek out a living as they struggle to find a job elsewhere. Many people who work from home are earning as much as — if not more — than their full-time employee counterparts (and there’s no commute or annoying person walking around telling people that “they have a case of the Mondays!” — what’s not to love?).
Of course, change can be — and often is — challenging, and sometimes it’s flat-out scary. That’s why you need a game plan for how to respond rather than react to change. Here are five practical, yet powerful tips that should be your change management playbook:
- Without labeling the change as good, bad, positive or negative, take a step back (or maybe several steps) and identify the situation. Sometimes, the fear of change is more alarming than the change itself.
- Conduct necessary research to identify your options. It’s very important not to limit your possibilities. Ideally, you can find someone who has faced a similar change — and challenge — who can help point you in the right direction.
- Put together a practical action plan that points you in the right direction. For example, if your home based business is being besieged by competition and your website isn’t generating enough traffic, you may decide to reach out to potential referral partners, create new content for your blog (which is good for visitors and for search engines), upgrade your web design so that it’s firing on all cylinders, and so on. The steps you take don’t need to be profound: they just need to be forward.
- Track your progress. Don’t be afraid to “change your plan of change” either. In fact, you’re likely going to need to alter your direction as you move ahead. That isn’t a red flag, but a good sign.
- Surround yourself with positive influences. One of the most inspiring pieces I’ve ever read is a short, but striking view of change by Retail Management Solutions, which creates pharmacy point-of-sale solutions. Check out this blog post, and feel the self-empowerment flow!
Now, will activating these tips insulate you from change? No: that’s not possible, or even desirable. Remember, the fact that you can even run a home business is the result of disruptive change. However, they can and should help you manage and even embrace change, so that instead of an enemy to be avoided and feared, it’s an ally that helps you take your home business to the next level.
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