Adjusting To Change — Experts Weigh In

If there’s one thing every entrepreneur can agree on, it’s that we all experience change and it comes with a lot of emotions. This can be a good thing and seen as progress forward, but it can also be scary especially when the changes aren’t planned. How can you adjust with confidence? We reached out to small business experts for their advice on turning changes into big opportunities.

1. “Going into any change with the attitude of change is opportunity is key. If you have the right attitude and are committed to making the best of the situation, you can make change work in your favor. A positive attitude will make any change a good thing.” — Chris Abrams, Owner, Abrams Insurance Solutions, Inc.

2. “I deal with change by reaching out to other business owners and professionals who have been through similar situations. It’s nice to hear their advice and know that other people can relate to what you are experiencing.” — Charles Dugan, Owner, American Image Displays

3. “Be brutally honest and transparent about changes. Meet with your team daily, tell them what you’re going to do next and explain why. Listen to their suggestions and make the final decision. If you are honest and keep your team updated with what is happening, they will be on your side and you can overcome any problem together.” — Cristian Rennella CEO & Co-Founder, MejorTrato

4. “Accept it. Evolve. Adapt.” — Rod Brown, COO, OnceLogix

5. “The best way to adapt to change is to let go of the past no matter how good it use to be. Sometimes when we hang on to a story in our head of how good business used to be, it hinders our ability to move forward. Let it go and look forward to the future by changing and adapting. Some of the best opportunities are presented when things change!” — Lisa Chu, Owner, Black N Bianco

6. “At first, I thought it was me. Was I a terrible leader? Was I secretly channeling my inner Jeff Lewis or was this the process for growth in my business to get to the sweet spot? I’ve gone through 3 employees in the last 2 years, but each one of them worked for me between 9 to 12 months. I realized that I was settling. I was not truly taking the time to search for the right fit for my brand. Understanding this now makes a world of difference. Change is scary yes, but it’s also a sign of growth. It might have been tough to work long hours because I had no help, but looking back it was all worth it.” —  Teana McDonald, President, 3E Connections, Inc.

7. “Admittedly, I had a very hard time adjusting to change, especially when one of my best employees resigned. But, I learned that embracing changes can open better opportunities, which leads to continuous success.” — Joanna Douglas, Owner, Clean Affinity Cleaning Service

8. “Transparency truly is the key for small businesses to deal with change in my opinion; by explaining ahead of time to your staff members why something is happening, they can better understand the decision-making process and build confidence in management’s capabilities. If you take the opportunity to ask them their thoughts, staff will also feel like they have some input into the process, and you’ll often receive helpful suggestions you otherwise would not have had access to.” — Han Chang, Co-Founder, InvestmentZen

9. “In hindsight, when change was forced on me, it has resulted in a better situation or outcome. Change forces me to ramp up my thinking and drive toward a better solution. In fact, some of my biggest business disasters have forced the most innovative changes that altered my business trajectory with positive results. When change happens, I remind myself of past outcomes and embrace the next step.” — John Kinskey, President and Founder, AccessDirect, Inc.

10. “The best way to adapt to change is to see it coming and begin implementing changes before competition can respond. Read as much as possible about your industry so that change never finds you unexpectedly.” — Matt Collins, Director, Loans Now

11. “My strategy for adjusting to change in our business is to spend time outdoors. Being outside helps me get outside my head and refresh my perspective.” — Kyle Wente, Owner, EcoEnclose

12. “I like to spend time with my family. It’s comforting to have something consistent and stable to lean on when my business is going through a change.” — Earl Choate, CEO, Concrete Camouflage

13. “Change can seem daunting, but you need to look at it as an opportunity. Businesses that embrace change are the ones that you’ll see excelling for years to come.” — Lankitha Wimalarathna, Founder and CEO, Hiveage

14. “Change is difficult, but also a constant. A way to view change is to look at it as a pivot to a new business opportunity or focus, which gives everyone a fresh start.” — Bob Clary, Director of Marketing, DevelopIntelligence

15. “While it can be intimidating, change is necessary for any business; but it can also be the catalyst for major success or major failure. Make sure that your communication with your customer is always open so that you know what changes will have the biggest impact, and to be sure that you are making these changes at the right time.” — Neil Mclaren, Owner and Founder,

16. “Be part of the change. People are sensitive barometers to change and when they sense it’s coming, they instinctively need affirmation that whatever is on the other side of the transition will work out in their favor. If you champion the change and choose to serve in a position of influence, those around you are more likely to buy-in and seek comfort with the changes being made.” — Amjad Hussain, CEO, Algomus

17. “Change planned and unplanned is inevitable. You can’t control it, the government, the economy, your kids, your spouse… All you can control is yourself and your response to change. Ask questions about it until you feel you have an understanding of change. Questions like a reporter asks: who, what, when, where, how, why. Knowledge builds your confidence and ability to deal with change.” — Debra Benton, Founder, 

18. “Adapting to change is tough, but also necessary. When faced with something new, a successful entrepreneur is able to reshape who he is, just like how water reshapes itself to whatever vessel holds it.” — Peter Yang, Co-Founder, ResumeGo

19. “I adjust to change by reading books. Reading allows me to constantly learn new things and keep up with innovation. That way, when a big change at my company takes place I don’t feel overwhelmed or underprepared.” — Robert Ellis, Founder, Massage Tables Now

20. “I ran a successful travel agency called EDGE Travel in Costa Rica and was affected by a uncalled-for country centric plague and scare called ZIKA. Although it wasn’t as bad as the media portrayed at the time, I went from Destination and Travel Rockstar to Almost-Starving Agent when 1.5 million dollars of business was canceled from my books due to these threats and travelers scare to visit my destination. My force major clauses were executed and talk about the need for change! I sized down, changed offices, went virtual and soon enough started a new line of business that was fueled by my former customers: I got into Real Estate and Vacation Rentals. I used the bad media to tell my story and re-introduce my new company to my ex-clients. My new company is now called WE-R-CR (We ARE Cosa Rica). I still work with my clients both past and present, but in new capacities. I used the storyline to reintroduce my new endeavors and through truth and courage began a new era. I am now a successful vacation rental agent and realtor in Costa Rica, bringing Americans and expats from all over the world into Costa Rica. I found out change and adversity opened the doors for a line of business that was much more profitable and even more engaging.” — Cristina Jones, Founder, CJONES&CO

21. “Whatever the change, it is vital for any business leader to focus on the positives and not let his team hear him dwelling on the negatives. Even if a change is cause for worry or disappointment, negativity on the part of a leader will infect the team, cause distraction and damage confidence.” — Jacob Dayan, CEO, Community Tax

22. “When it comes to adjusting to change, the best advice I can possibly give is to be prepared for it. Expect it and embrace it, but do not lose sleep over it, because it will happen.” James Pollard, Founder, The Advisor Coach

23. “I believe that adapting to change is a skill that good entrepreneurs should be able to do easily. It’s about being able to think logically and not emotionally. Emotions keep you feeling connected to the past and worried about change. Logic will tell you that the past is gone and you have to adjust to the new reality of a situation. Good entrepreneurs and business owners should always be looking towards the future and expecting change. Becoming too comfortable is the fastest way to spell kill your long term goals. Entrepreneurs need to be willing to work hard, always ready to battle change, and have enough confidence in themselves to know they can overcome obstacles that are thrown at them in the form of ‘change.’” — Matt Ham, President/Owner, Computer Repair Doctor 

23. “We had two established businesses when we decided to build our own communal business hub, which would also be our HQ. We were told the venture would be a distraction from our main businesses, but we were determined to make it a positive change. Moving our teams out of a private office and into our new shared space did force major adjustments to the way we work. There was a lot of building work to be done, and we were running our already established businesses alongside noisy builders and endless distractions. A year on we are settled, and the team benefit daily from working alongisde like-minded companies in a friendly and community-focused workspace. The perks of being part of a community that spurs on collaboration and innovation makes us very happy with our decision.” — Chris Griffiths, CEO, OpenGenius

25. “Change is difficult for most businesses because it generally requires standing up to their own corporate mortality. If you don’t adapt to customers’ changing needs, you will surely face decline and eventual death. Accepting the need to cannibalize your own business to stay alive requires facing your existential demons. Does the effort of change bring new customers or sales opportunities? If so, embrace it. Businesses must accept that without change your revenue will surely disappear to new entrants who don’t care about your own entitled sense of corporate self. To overcome this fear, businesses need to concentrate on the benefits of change, and think of the past as a prologue of what’s to come.” — Nigel Whiteoak, FounderLoveCrochet

26. “I adjust by polling our employees. I want to know how our team feels before making important decisions about the future direction of our company.” — Matt Bentley, CEO, CanIRank SEO Software

27. “Change is inevitable, but it is also an opportunity for you to evolve the vision of your business. As long as you are transparent with your team about your plans – it’s a great opportunity to embrace it as a step in a new, exciting direction for our employees and your company” — Serena Holmes, President and CEO, Tigris Events

28. “In a time of change remember that the whole world hates them, but changes are the only thing truly leading to progress. Every change brings new challenges that prepare you for even bigger goals. I’ve never been disappointed by changes, they only made me work and try harder.” — Sarunas Budrikas, CEO, Angle180

29. “When your team trusts you, they understand that changes happen sooner or later for your company’s development. You won’t be able to always choose the changes, but you can at least decide how to respond to them. Honesty and communication make it easier for my team to adopt the adjustments.” — Val Slajus, President, VIS Exterior

30. “Most people are scared of the unknown more than the changes themselves. By knowing how the changes will affect them personally, they’ll be more likely to accept them. When changes happen, I acknowledge them, talk to my team, and focus on what I can do instead of stressing out about things that can’t be changed.” — Gideon Lipnickas, Owner, New Concept 180

31. “I have found approaching change with an opportunisitic mindset has been the most beneficial for my company. I approach each change as an opportunity, and I ask myself, ‘How can I get the most advantage out of this change?'” — Kean Graham, CEO, MonetizeMore

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