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The Balancing Act

I read as many industry publications as possible. Lately, I have seen two themes relative to business success that seem to surface more than any other:

If you aren’t willing to change your business, it will struggle.
If you don’t stay true to your core competency, your business will struggle.

What?!? Your business has to change AND it has to stay the same?

Yep. And, as competitive as business is today, you’d better be pretty good at both. But how do you know when to change the business or when to stay put with what you have? Frankly, there is some ‘gut feel’ to this challenge, and there is no doubt about that. But there is also planning through the understanding of pertinent data.

At Eakes, we endlessly evaluate our industry, our market, our company and our consequent need to alter our business to keep up with changes in each. We formally address the need to change (or stay the same) during our Strategic Planning process which happens each fall.

If a particular product category is surging, we can pivot from our current plan by supplementing our approach to take advantage of the upswing. If one of our particular industries enters a consolidation mode (which most of them have), we identify that condition and begin a strategy to acquire.

On the other hand, we understand that the more things change, often, the more they stay the same. New and challenging competitive pressures surface almost daily (did someone say Amazon?). But, rather than cowering from the threat, we are reminded that our core office supply business has had new and challenging pressures for decades.

We stick to our knitting. We have great people who react quickly, provide high levels of knowledge, stay up on technology and provide customers with competitive pricing. We’ve been doing it for years and, while maybe not a true ‘Secret Sauce’, if we do it well – if we stick to our core competencies – we’ll stay strong and fend off the challenges.

So, yes, they are conflicting edicts… Change and Don’t Change. But through all the analysis, one thing is clear - they both have a necessary place in business.