The world is not a static place. Things are constantly changing: clothing styles, food preferences, popular sports and advanced technological devices.
What is seldom recognized at the time of the initial change are the secondary effects. Change does not occur in a vacuum -there are reactions. Anticipating these secondary changes is an untapped potential for new businesses.
Technological changes have forever altered the way we use telephones. Cellphones have evolved from simple communication devices to total activity platforms from which one can shop, get news, connect to the Internet or take and send pictures.
Although these developments have created tremendous opportunities, they have led to an explosion in fraud - and the business of fraud prevention.
Your small business may not generate a major societal shift, but you can participate in the ripple effects. What are the potential implications of major changes on your business? This is the basis of strategic planning - developing future alternative scenarios, considering the implications, and reconfiguring your business to capitalize on the opportunity before your competitors can.
As a small business, you have two major advantages in implementing change. You can respond more rapidly than a large company with layers of management and turf wars to negotiate. You can act immediately, order the equipment or develop the necessary support logistics, train your people and market to the public without organizational delays.
The second advantage is flexibility. Many federal and state regulations don't apply to businesses with fewer than 50 employees, which exempts most small businesses. While many regulations are needed and beneficial, there is always an offsetting price, whether it is financial or loss of flexibility.
A small-business owner retains ultimate control. Anticipate the future, make a decision and implement. Play to your strengths and advantages and win.
Ralph Hershberger is president of SCORE Southern Arizona, a nonprofit group that offers free small-business counseling and mentoring by appointment at several locations. For more information, go to www.southernarizona.score.org, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 505-3636.