Productivity / Innovation

Business Survival: How to adapt to change

Having run my own business for 25 years, I’ve had to adapt to change in order to remain competitive. Here’s how I did it.


At first, like many others, I was reluctant to change. The business was going well and we were making a profit, so I was thinking along the lines of the late Bert Lance: “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.”

However, as time went on I realised that day-to-day business operations weren’t the same, and it was harder to adapt to changes within my business industry. 

Understand change and be aware of your current situation

Flexibility and a willingness to embrace change is the first step to successfully adapting to change. The world of technology and business competition constantly force you to reevaluate your business operations.

I have found that in today’s economy everything changes faster: supply, demand, product and service prices, inventory, investment, employment and interest rates.

The Global Financial Crisis of 2009 is a great example. Whilst the effect of the crisis on Australia was considerably less than in many other countries, it required businesses and individuals to assess their current situation and understand the changes that were happening in the economy.

"Flexibility and a willingness to embrace change is the first step to successfully adapting to change. "

Growth slowed to around half a percent and the unemployment rate rose. As a result, I had to reevaluate the current position of my business situation and establish a sense of urgency to adapt to the change in the economy. 

Want more articles like this? Check out the innovation section.

Know your market

As your clients grow older their needs and wants change, so you need to be able to anticipate and prepare for these changes.

Developing a healthy business relationship with clients is invaluable for many reasons; most notably that we’re able to act on the provision of services in terms of quality, cost and reliability.

As a chartered accountant and lawyer, my job is to provide services to clients. To do this, I need to understand my clients’ needs and then go out of my way to fulfil them.

Keep learning and build up your skill base

I can’t stress the importance of continued learning and skill building. Sign up to online blogs, attend seminars and broaden your reading. To be prepared to deal with change successfully, it is important to build as many skills as possible so you are well educated with adapting to change. Hearing and reading other people’s ideas and points of view really helped me in dealing with change.

Remember that change is a process and does not happen overnight. Taking shortcuts may be of benefit in the short-term but never produces a satisfying result in the long-term.

Change is good

My experience has shown me that whilst change creates many challenges, it also opens up a whole new world of opportunities. Each person will adapt to change differently depending on their business industry; just be sure to prepare for the change beforehand, and take action.

How do you prepare for change?

Michael Quinn

has over 25 years’ experience as a Chartered Accountant and nearly 20 years as a practising lawyer. He is co-founder and director of The Quinn Group. Michael understands the highs and lows of running a business and believes strongly in sharing his wisdom and experience.


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