You need to recognise the inherent value in collaborative thinking at a commercial level.

Often used to working solo or as part of a small team, SMB owners can often find it hard to hand over control of their business and overall vision to other people, but if the business is in a rut then challenging the status quo might just be the jump start it needs, says Janine Garner, entrepreneur, author and founder of the LBDGroup, or Little Black Dress Group.

Working with senior leaders to build high-performing teams, she believes businesses must adapt to keep up in a fast-changing world. This means thinking rapidly and collaboratively, and continuously exploring ways to update and improve the company’s processes and overall offer.

Successful transformational change tactics include setting clear, aspirational targets, maintaining energy and involvement throughout the organisation, and exercising strong leadership.

It might mean revamping your product offer or overhauling the company’s digital presence, but whatever you want to achieve you need to have a well thought out plan in place before you start.

You need to recognise the inherent value in collaborative thinking at a commercial level – working together to share ideas, concepts, skills or intellectual property. Don’t neglect communication – keeping ideas, thought processes and even fears about the direction of the company to yourself is a risky business practice.

Even if you work alone, you will need to reach out once in a while. And remember, a manager who stands alone without the support and skills of a great team is missing out on knowledge and talent.

Garner recommends six steps to keep in mind as you seek to shake things up:

Question the status quo

What is the structure of your team? Are you taking on too many ‘big’ roles yourself? Split your own role so that others are able to show their strengths.

Think fast 

Do you know who your competitors are? Do you know who their teams are? Are you aware of their network affiliations?

Ideas are currency

Engage team talent and surround yourself with people who are smart, inspired and above all want to be a part of your business’s future. Placing value and responsibility on team members will inspire them to contribute their ideas.

Disrupt the norm

When it comes to expansion, look at other SMBs with complementary concepts or products. There could be the possibility of an exchange of value. For example, you could enter into a collaborative arrangement, where you work together and ‘swap’ skills to produce a new product or idea. A brand with honesty and authenticity will attract like-minded customers.

Develop new perspectives

Have you ever asked your team why they are with you or what their passions are? If the people working with or for you aren’t interested in what you do then you are never going to succeed. The question is: is it because they truly aren’t interested, or because you haven’t given them a reason to be interested? 

Connect, contribute and influence

The consumer looks for authenticity and transparency in a business brand. You and your team should strive wherever possible to take your business’s voice into the industry conversation.  


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