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In my article published in Money Management, I looked at the five things that successful businesses do to survive and thrive in changing times:

1. For a start, they don’t wait for change to be inflicted upon them, they regularly reflect on how they do things and recognise where they can improve.

One of the greatest contributors to successful businesses – in any field, is the ability to evolve and adapt to a new environment:

• Consider the success of Amazon with its Kindle e-reader, while you consider the demise of Borders bookstores.
• Think about how Apple reinvented itself to step out from behind the shadows of Microsoft and emerge as not only the worlds biggest seller of smart phones, but the worlds largest listed company.

Even for the SME business, as most financial advice businesses are, renewing the way they run their business is of vital importance. To quote an article from the Harvard Business Review, “Many corporations become too comfortable with their existing business models and neglect the necessary work of radically reinventing them.”

One of the simplest methods to do this – and we’ve all heard the saying a million times, is to take time out from working in the business to work on the business. If you haven’t already, schedule an off-site to reflect on your current business model, and importantly, keep regular appointments with your team to discuss the implementation of the ideas you had that will allow you to evolve.

2.  They remain committed to the areas of the business they want to change, despite the fact that they don’t always know how to solve the problem.

Rather than holding their business back out of fear of the unknown, they stay completely honest about what they want to improve in their business, and then seek the solution. Just like the owner of a new car suddenly sees an increase in the number of those cars on the road, their conscious attention on the outcomes they want for their problem allows them to discover solutions.

3. They implement.

Rather than engaging in daydreams and wishful thinking, when they decide they want something, they go out and get it. That’s not to say the business owner is the one who does all the ‘doing’, they empower their teams to contribute and ensure that what they say they will do, gets done.

4. They don’t let their success hinder further success.

Even the best businesses we know don’t think they know it all or that their way is the best way to do things.  They are respectful when talking to other advisers, they are always open to new ideas, and continually refresh their thinking on possibilities.

5. They’re not afraid of reaching out for support to assist them.

Whether they engage in peer groups, have a board of advice, a business coach or all of the above, they are happy to tap into resources to help them learn from the successes of others, and provide an objective viewpoint to mentor them through their challenges.

What active steps are you taking to ensure your success? Will you be the financial planning equivalent of Borders or Amazon?