One of the biggest challenges often overlooked by first-time entrepreneurs is change management. This was always a challenge when I was a supply chain consultant, and it was incredibly true as a founder of Body Boss.
In consulting, I made recommendations, set strategies, and led implementations for transformations set by company execs. The transformations almost always had great intentions and great financial benefits that would otherwise seem like no-brainers to work.
However, the greatest challenges weren’t the systems and processes to implement. Instead, the greatest challenges were leading and managing the change within the people of the organization. Different backgrounds, different skill levels, different motivations… everything impacted the people. The efficacy of leading change with the people dictated the success of transformations. Bain & Company cites “more than 70 percent of major change efforts typically fail” (see Results Delivery), and it’s largely due to change management.
Technology startups looking sell to businesses or consumers face a similar task in considering their products and services, especially in multi-layered organizations. In today’s world of quick-to-implement SaaS solutions, the effectiveness of change management can be a major component of user engagement and retention metrics (i.e. Day 1 returning users (“D1”), D7, D14, etc.).
When thinking about change management, entrepreneurs would do well to:
- Consider the usage and implications to every layer of an organization that will use the product/ service — from executive buyers to core users
- Communicate clear benefits, and ensure delivery of said benefits
- Provide timely service in the event of missteps, bugs, or failure
- Nurture adoption of the product/ service with all levels of users (getting started wizards, email notifications, other)
- Create a simple, streamlined user experience (UX)
- Understand and mitigate the risks to each [level of] user — considering your solution is from a new, questionably “viable” entity