Smart CEO Article: Changing Your Strategy — The Art of the Pivot

How Gibraltar’s openness to change helps us stay current with industry trends and fosters an environment of innovation and creativityTrying to maintain status quo in a small business is nearly impossible, and potentially detrimental. Today’s increasingly dynamic and fast-moving business environment demands continuous assessment of your business and your market, coupled with an openness to change where and when necessary. Without this kind of mindset, any organization can quickly lose touch with what’s most relevant to its customer base and employees, and ultimately will stagnate.

There are plenty of conditions that predicate strategy change – a shift in customer needs, economic or marketplace realities, or new disruptive technologies, for example. One may argue the most successful companies are those that practice foresight. They anticipate change and embrace it. They recognize that change is not linear, but a mix of qualitative and quantitative analysis, fortuitous timing, carefully orchestrated implementation, and the ability to make small tweaks or major adjustments, over and over again.

As a small enterprise, Gibraltar Business Capital (GBC) is continuously assessing its lines of business and position within the lending industry. Case in point: The emergence of marketplace lending is a significant game-changer. New entrants are offering unsecured cash advances to companies that would otherwise depend on factoring solutions, one of GBC’s core areas of business. This new, competitive challenge required GBC to shift its “go-to-market” strategy.

Retooling our capabilities

At the heart of this transition was an emphasis on human capital and technology. Previously, GBC had two sales groups – one for sister company Gibraltar Capital Advance (GCA) focused on cash advances direct to companies, and a GBC team focused on selling factoring and asset based lending solutions. We recently decided to consolidate by realigning roles and skill sets among our talent, and revamping into two divisions – Small Business Lending and Commercial Finance. Both function under a more unified sales force, thus strengthening our capabilities and competitiveness.

We also wanted to provide a more integrated customer experience, so we activated a Salesforce platform. With customized apps and features, our sales and reporting functions are not only more unified, but managers have greater visibility into all steps of the process and real-time access to portfolio activity. We on-boarded the team with internal training and updates to ensure the changes were seamless.

Ultimately, rapid changes in the marketplace and our industry compelled us to move forward with this major change. With a more robust, tech-enabled financing platform, we now operate more efficiently through faster intake of information and processing; achieve even greater turnaround time, ensuring more rapid delivery of custom financing solutions; and maintain better transparency, allowing for more precise information sharing by all parties. Importantly, we made this strategic change as part of a collaborative process that included valuable feedback from our employees, clients, management team and shareholders, who recognize the value of our investment and revamp.

When change is good

Shifting strategies typically involves carefully analyzing your current business practices and determining where, when and how to adjust. With clear objectives in mind, a concise plan is critical. Following implementation and periodic evaluation of your business strategy, it’s also smart to stay nimble, reviewing results and impact on operational metrics and key performance indicators, and tweaking strategy as needed.

An openness to change can help a business stay current with industry trends and face-off against new challenges. It can foster an environment of innovation and creativity. It can promote efficiency, resulting in happier customers and employees. Also, it can positively impact morale, providing a new outlook and professional opportunities. And finally, strategic change can boost competitiveness – a sign that your firm is forward-thinking and making the difficult choices and investments to continue to support and reach goals.

Here we believe when a door closes a window opens. Change is the new norm in today’s business world.

By Heather LaFreniere, EVP, Head of Originations, Gibraltar Business Capital

 

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“Creative Capital Alternatives Keeping Small Businesses Competitive – SmartCEO.” SmartCEO. 1 Oct. 2015. Web. 1 Oct. 2015.

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