As you already know if you’ve read any of my blogs, I am a corporate anthropologist who launched Simon Associates Management Consultants almost two decades ago to help organizations change using the theory, methods, and tools of anthropology. Before that, I was a tenured professor and then an executive in banking and healthcare—always focused on change.
My husband, Andrew Simon (Andy), joined SAMC several years ago after many decades as a successful entrepreneur. Since he was not an anthropologist, our positioning was not going to be an easy one to fit him into. And yet, the more we thought about it, he fit the modus operandi perfectly, as I describe in a recent article I wrote for Home Business Magazine, which you can read here.
The challenge for us was: How could Andy take his expertise and apply it in ways that worked within our company’s market positioning? We knew he was a great innovator and knew how to grow businesses at all stages of their development — from start-ups and early-stage companies to mid-market companies ready to expand their scope and shape. And when you think about it, growing is all about change.
SAMC is all about helping businesses change but we realized we had to change, too.
Once on board, Andy got right to work. He added new services to our portfolio, most importantly the SAMC-Inbound division to handle inbound marketing, and we became a HubSpot partner. This required content marketing support with bloggers writing content for us and posting on social media. Little by little and then by leaps and bounds, we grew.
This early growth was exciting but we had to admit, it was hard, too. We realized quite quickly that, as Darwin wrote, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.” So, if humans have been adapting to change since before we stood erect, why is it so hard?
How do you adapt your business to change? We did it, and you can too!
First, remember that our brains hate change. They are most efficient when they are following well-honed habits. And when you shift from an office setting to a home-based business, as we did, that’s a lot of change. You are no longer going to the corner deli to grab a sandwich. You have no assistant to take care of details you’d rather not deal with. Since I travel a great deal, my husband is often on his own. For someone who had built and run a large organization, this has been a significant adjustment.
Some clients fit Andy to a tee, others took a lot more effort.
One of Andy’s first clients after he joined SAMC was an online healthcare concept that was a great idea but that ultimately fizzled due to under-capitalization. Another one manufactured travel pillows that were selling well in airport shops but not online. Andy took it on and turned it into a very profitable line of business, learning along the way how online shopping was evolving, particularly with Amazon.
Then HubSpot came along. An inbound marketing platform, it found us. We were using its blogs and marketing materials and upgrading our website to capitalize on content marketing very early in the Google game. HubSpot asked us if we wanted to be partners in their program, so we tried it on our own business first and watched our search volume and lead generation increase dramatically. Then our clients gave inbound a try, and it worked for them as well. Next thing you know, Andy was launching our SAMC-Inbound division and building a team of content marketers.
Did we have to change? Could we have stayed put?
Sure. We were doing a lot of corporate anthropology to help businesses better understand their cultures and change their strategies. We had become Blue Ocean Strategists® and were applying that methodology very effectively. Our speaking and workshops and content marketing were bringing in great clients.
But, we changed, adapted and expanded to add value with innovation and to build our organization while remaining a two-office, one-bedroom home business.
For more on how to change, check out some of our most popular blogs and podcasts
- Blog: Want To Change Your Organization? Make It Like An Exciting Play.
- Blog: Change: Are You Going To Avoid It Or Embrace It?
- Blog: Need To Change Your Organization’s Culture? 6 Best Ways To Do It.
- Podcast: Ask Andi: Change Can Be Hard
- Podcast: Ask Andi—It’s Time For Companies To Adapt
Could a “little Darwin” help you adapt?
Darwin was right. In these rapidly changing times, only the most adaptive are going to thrive. So, it is up to you to help your team see change as a “big new adventure” rather than a scary black hole. Need help? Give us a call. We love talking change and want to help your business succeed.
From Observation to Innovation,
Andi Simon, Ph.D.
Corporate Anthropologist | President
Simon Associates Management Consultants