Change is essential to business success, and I’m not talking about the kind of change you drop in a vending machine. It’s the kind of change that too often brings fear, self-doubt and resistance to business owners.

Building a business is hard work and once the wheels are turning, it can be difficult to grasp the idea of doing something differently. But more often the not, resistance to change that can lead to trouble. A business that doesn’t change risks become stagnant and misses the opportunity to grow.

Consider McDonald’s, a turn-key operation that functions in cookie cutter fashion and has maintained the same core menu for decades. Though the business is based on being predictable, McDonald’s introduces new products and promotions on a regular basis. Often times the company strikes gold with something new like the Oreo McFlurry, and sometimes even McDonald’s misses the mark. Whatever happened to the McDLT?

In the entertainment world, performers must constantly reinvent in order to keep their place in the spotlight. Great examples include Madonna, Elton John and Cher. Each has gone through transformation many times in order to remain successful.

Your Gut is Calling – Answer the Phone!
If you are wrestling with a business idea, whether it is a new product, marketing strategy, niche customer base or a whole new business division, here are steps you can take to move forward.

1. Plan Your Attack
Think of preparation as insurance. The better you can prepare, the better your chances of success. Do your homework and make sure your idea makes sense. Survey your customers, talk to peers, read books, take classes, hire an advisor—whatever it takes to define a strategy that has legs.

2. Don’t Bet More Than You Can Afford to Lose
Be realistic about the risk involved. If your idea is of mammoth proportion, make sure you have a mammoth back up plan. If in the grand scheme of things, it will be of minor consequence if it doesn’t go as planned, then keep moving forward.

3. Feel the Fear - Then Kick its Tail
You might be surprised by how much fear is removed from the equation when you start with step #1: Plan Your Attack. Being prepared brings confidence. If you still need a nudge, remember the lesson from the Wizard of Oz: “You’ve always had the power.” Take a deep breath and proceed to step #4.

4. Take the Leap
If you own a business, you have undoubtedly taken many leaps of faith already. And I’ve got news for you; you will likely take many more in your life as a business owner. Remember a time when you took a leap and it paid off. Now go replicate that.

5. Evaluate Often
Once your idea is off the launching pad, don’t close your eyes and hope for a safe landing. Pay close attention to the progress. Make changes, adjust and continue the development process. If it’s wildly successful, celebrate. If it’s broken, look for ways to fix it. Sometimes even problems can become opportunities if you look at them from the right angle.

6. Lather, Rinse, Repeat
Here’s an idea: make change part of your ongoing business plan. Look for ways to improve, introduce, create and grow. Go through the process again and again until you run out of ideas. When that happens, it’s time to retire!

When you embrace change and transformation, you give yourself and your business permission to grow. Are you ready to leap?

Author's Bio: 

Stephanie Chandler is the author of several business and marketing books including FROM ENTREPRENEUR TO INFOPRENEUR: MAKE MONEY WITH BOOKS, E-BOOKS AND INFORMATION PRODUCTS. She is the founder of BusinessInfoGuide.com, a directory of resources for entrepreneurs and TheBusinessGrowthConnection.com, a marketing company specializing in electronic newsletters.