Overcoming Fear of Change and “the way we’ve always done it”

One of the biggest challenges small business owners face is overcoming fear of change and inertia to explore tools and techniques
they may be unfamiliar with that can help them grow their business, even when times are bad and money is tight.

Internet Marketing is a great example.  Most companies have grown to their current level by using traditional marketing techniques.  So they think they should keep using them, even with a mountain of evidence that shows traditional marketing techniques are no longer providing the value the once did–when they can be measured at all.

They’ve heard that Internet Marketing provides a big ROI and costs less than traditional marketing.  They may have peers or competitiors that are gaining the benefits.  With the guidance of an experienced Internet Marketing Consultant, they can see and quanitfy  the scope and ROI of the opportunity before them.

But still they pause.  They are uncertain, afraid of change, especially with techniques that are foreign to them, that they don’t understand.  So how do small business owners overcome this fear of change?  How do they break away from the fallback response of “because we’ve always done it this way”?

As I have been contemplating this challenge over the past few days, I was pleased to see a blog post by Rebel Brown in MyVenturePad today titled “The Way We’ve Always Done It.”  I think she hits the nail on the head and provides some great advice.  Enjoy.

The Way We’ve Always Done It

We don’t usually respond well to change.

Especially in tough economic times – when our company or home life is already tense and constricted.

When things get tense, people tend to hang on to what they know. The status quo is known and safe, even if it does mean a downhill slide. Why is hanging onto a boat anchor safer than striking out for dry land? That one eludes me. Especially when we’re spiraling downward. Why don’t we try something truly different?

The way we’ve always done it’ is usually the reason we’re in a mess.

That’s one of the reasons I question everything, asking about the logic, the ‘why’ behind thoughts and processes involved in our business decisions.Sooner or later, I hear the same little answer.

“Because we’ve always done it that way.”

Those seven little words cause so much trouble. They lock us into our status quo, limiting our ability to evolve and grow. Even as we’re seeking a solution for our slump with the best intentions and focus- the way we’ve always done it drags us down and keeps us there.
The key to growth is to adapt and evolve. From Madonna to Apple – successful enterprises know they must reinvent themselves to thrive. We can’t reinvent ourselves while hanging onto the knowns of our past. If we want to thrive in today’s dynamic world – in business or in our professional lives – we have to release our past and evolve.

It’s really not that difficult to adapt. Start by questioning ‘why’ you do things the way you do. From the biggest strategic decisions to the smallest daily actions. Every time you hear that answer, “Because that’s the way we’ve always done it,” – take another look. Chances are you’ll find an opportunity for innovation and improvement, for a new way of thinking.

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