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Making change smoothly Add to ...

Transitioning into a new line of business is always a challenge. Here are four ways to make the move more smoothly, according to experts.

Create a plan

Some companies can jump right into a new business, but it’s hard to do that successfully. Shane Lawrence, assistant vice-president of business banking at TD Canada Trust, says it’s best to come up with a plan. Understand the margins on the new business, whether it will become a separate division or a standalone operation and if you’ll need to hire new staff, he says.

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Research, research

David Wilton, director of small business banking at Bank of Nova Scotia, says the most successful transitions occur at companies that do their research. Find out as much as you can about the industry of your new business, and keep your ear to the ground, he says. “Research is the name of the game.”

Test the waters

It’s a good idea to move slowly when shifting a business’ gears. Test out an idea first to see how people react, Mr. Wilton suggests.

Not only will you be able to find out if there’s a market for your new operation, but you can use that experience when you’re updating your business plan.

Talk to employees

Be open with your staff, Mr. Lawrence says.

A lot are probably worried that their jobs will disappear; others may be concerned that their workload will become unbearable. Tell them exactly what’s going on and how they can help.

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