Charles Darwin famously said “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change”.

I believe this is more relevant in business than it is to species.  There are some businesses that are prolific at this. Did you know that Nokia started off by selling rubber boots? And that National Geographic started off as a magazine in print?

The National Geography Society was first published in 1888. It stayed popular until the 1990s when the younger generation bypassed the magazine for colour TV.  National Geographic Society quickly spread into other media platforms to keep current and the National Geographic Channel was launched in 2001.

Of course there are many companies who are known for failing to adapt to change.  Blockbusters for example who never embraced the digital era.  Blockbusters made $800 million in late fees in 2000 and they declined to purchase Netflix their anti-late fee competitor.  By 2010 Blockbusters was nowhere to be seen and Netflix continue to prosper.

Adaptability has been a hot topic within TI Accountancy at the minute.  Our Payroll manager has gone on maternity leave and this brought to light how important it was for us to have live procedure manuals which we have now put in place, as the old static ones were not as flexible as we needed them to be.

As a small business I believe we have the ability to be more flexible than a larger business.  Many decisions are made by the whole team at TI Accountancy and it was definitely a joint effort in getting the process manual into a live system that everyone could use. I think it’s important to involve the whole team, as it usually the ones that are client facing that can add valuable insight in how we could improve things for the clients, and bringing about change to the way WE operate.

As a small business do you have procedures in place to make sure you are not stagnant, or even worse, moving backwards??  I have been thinking about the things we have in place to make sure we are continuingly adapting; these include:

  1. Promoting Learning – everyone in the company is encouraged to learn. This inspires people to use their initiative and suggest improvement when they learn something new.
  2. Listening to clients – we have feedback loops in most of our procedures so that at any time if a client feels that we could have done something different they have the media to tell us.
  3. Blame the Procedure – whenever something goes wrong we never blame a member of the team. We find where the process went wrong and then fix it.  This isn’t always easy and we can be in the boardroom for long periods of time but it’s important.
  4. Mission Statement – Our mission statement at TI Accountancy is “Treating Your Business as if it was your own”. This doesn’t just help our clients know how we will treat them, but it also empowers everyone in the team to make the right   When wondering what to do to help a client, asking themselves “what would I do if it was my own company” is a great way of working out the answer of how you should treat the client.

What procedures do you have in place to ensure you are always adaptable?