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The Power of Change in the Office Supplies Industry

There’s a bold saying in business that ‘all change is good’. We might not go that far, but 20 years in the office supplies industry has taught us that change is necessary and can almost always uncover opportunities which can be used to your advantage. Whether changes to your technology, trading or service are needed to keep your business ahead of the competition, utilising change to your advantage is probably more straightforward than you think. We’ve drawn on nearly two decades of industry experience and compiled the best ways for your company to capitalise on your change.

Start by shrinking the risks

Robust budgeting is vital when you’re forecasting changes to your company, and although too much caution can be counterproductive, ensuring you have a solid financial and operational model in place significantly reduces risks and increases your control. Strong communication is vital across the board, from staff to stakeholders, suppliers and of course customers. Timing is also key for reducing fear of change and improving how its executed. Having a clear roadmap of when updates will be implemented can ease internal anxiety, whilst aligning company actions with changes occurring in your external environment can help things to run smoothly. If you’re in doubt, always act sooner rather than later, and your options will be kept open if your plans go sideways.

Carry out a situational analysis

You could conduct a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis, either through a third party, a trusted advisor or by yourself. It’s vital that the true ROI (Return on Investment) of any perceived strengths of the change plan are fully assessed. Often, a strength which seems significant at the start of the process can be significantly diluted once the cost of delivering it is considered.

Compare how your change plan co-exists with your business model

Organic growth, acquisition, sales force focus, exit and merger strategies, category extension and multichannel opportunity are all strategic pillars which should be considered, whether they exist abstractly or more concretely in your plan. Aligning your change plan with these pillars is critical for long-term success.

Make a people plan

We recommend starting with the strengths, weaknesses and wishes of the core stakeholders and shareholders. This will mean your strategy is aligned with vital players in the decision-making process. You can then work outwards from here. You may find that there are some difficult decisions to be made, as some roles, business components and functions are no longer necessary for the business’s future. This is by far the most difficult part of the process, but with a solid understanding of the impact on others you can make the transition smoother for everyone, while at the same time keep the future of the business – and those who depend on it – safe. Finally, don’t forget to buy-in; the credibility of your change plan will be sacrificed if the important stakeholders aren’t bought into it.

Office Power CEO Simon Drakeford on the power of change

“Entrepreneurs are great role models because they drive and actively seek out change. So, the more entrepreneurial the business context the more change a business is likely to have. At start up stage, when the wheels are wobbling and making payroll is one of the key focuses, change runs through the blood of the organisation. However, as businesses grow, skins thin, waists expand and the comforts of success set in, control and security often grow in importance. 3M is a great example of a business that reinvented itself to drive further success. To quote the title of Susan Jeffers famous self-help book, ‘feel the fear and do it anyway.’”

How we work with change

The office supplies industry and the wider economy are going through significant change right now. At Office Power, we use our extensive experience and award winning technology to support the dealers who partner with us. We offer our dealer partners a substantial amount of free consultation which can be enlightening – and incredibly useful – even for those dealers who don’t want to commit to change right now. If you’d like to discover more about the options and opportunities available for your business, then why not contact us for a free consultation on 020 7392 3930 or drop us a message on info@officepower.net.

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