Blog: Haven't "Been There, Done That?" — How to Handle Change... 

Originally printed in 2015, it helped changed my direction in working with entrepreneurs.

There is no doubt management basics are needed for the foundation of a company, but with the rapidly changing business environment and in particular marketing it is necessary to be alert to the changes that are needed to sustain success. Change, more than ever, is the key to successful growth in today’s market and economy. 

I still find many small businesses are not knowledgeable about the utilization of the internet and the social media. At the other extreme, many startups believe the internet and social media are all that is needed for marketing. The internet and the social media are tools for marketing and should be treated that way.

Start-ups should immediately search for experience and advice. With the lack of experience for a founder entrepreneur, they will find it hard to recognize changes that are needed. My definition of innovation is taking something that has been successful in one world to the "New World" or "New Company." This is difficult for a start-up team, if they’re doing it for the first time, to be shortchanged on innovation. This can present a problem for a start-up as it is necessary for change to have experience, an open mind, curiosity and a mindset for innovation.

This is why I see, for an entrepreneur, an open mind and curiosity needed to build on and searching for ideas about change. That is why I recommend adding coaches, mentors and team members, who have been there, don’t that, that will help going forward. An advantage for a start-up being open-minded is the team would not be locked into old or new methods, and in most cases changes will be accepted.

Changing the culture in today’s business environment is a necessity, but after sharing the vision, new and better ways must be found to pull away from the pack. This is where the need for change takes over.

I have found, in recent years, that a professor, named Steve Blank has made a major change in how start-ups are now treated in universities. He is author of the Blank Canvas Business Model and founder of the Lien LaunchPad.

Dr. Blank’s working symptoms and books, have influenced start-ups, government and universities to change the way they do business. I recommend that start-ups do research on Professor Blank and explore the books he has written about change. My interpretation is, instead of treating a startup like a small company to treat a startup far different, and really doing extensive validation up front. I have worked with numerous startups, that have changed their thinking about the market need and product definition early on. This new insight has help me to help entrepreneurs.