You have decided you want to transform your business to meet the demands of a digital marketplace and better respond to the rapidly changing needs of customers today. Before you dive in, consider a simple analogy.\nHave you ever opened up the package of a seemingly \u201ceasy to assemble\u201d new toy for your child, and think to yourself, \u201cThis seems pretty easy. I see the picture on the box and there aren\u2019t too many pieces. I don\u2019t need the instructions.\u201d However, when you get halfway through it, you realize that while you\u2019ve been putting things in the right places, you\u2019ve done so out of sequence.\nYou have to disassemble the toy and start over, this time using the previously-abandoned instructions. It\u2019s not that you aren\u2019t knowledgeable, or that you don\u2019t have the capacity to complete the task. You are simply going through a process that you\u2019re unfamiliar with: transforming individual pieces into your child\u2019s new favorite toy.\nBusiness transformation is the same. You are doing something you\u2019ve never done before: changing all the current parts of your business into something new. And, as with toy assembly, there are certain steps that have to come first. Here are three that are critical to every business transformation.\nStep 1: Get Ready To Drive Cultural Change From The Top\nFor successful business transformation, a new company culture needs to be fostered \u2013 a culture where communication is key and innovation is applied at all levels. A culture where people learn to look at the big picture rather than at narrow departmental agendas.\nWithout executive leadership and the definition of project milestones, such a culture will never come into being. Cultural change has to come from the top down to prevent interdepartmental conflict. There has to be a universal acceptance that this is a big project. Clear goals for the business transformation will need to be established with all involved parties, with brainstorming and discussion sessions held as frequently as necessary.\nStep 2: Think \u201cAdaptability\u201d and \u201cFlexibility\u201d\nBusiness transformation is an evolving process that should be capable of adapting to future business goals \u2013 goals that will very often change due to internal or external influences, whether technology- or market-related. It is therefore best to implement a framework that is easily modified. You do not want to start from scratch to implement another business transformation exercise just because a key factor in the company or the marketplace shifts.\nSome of the factors you should account for as you plan out business transformation are:\n\nEconomic instability. What if you encounter a lack of capital and cannot obtain more? What if the economy in general or your industry in particular takes a downturn?\nNew technologies. With emerging technologies including everything from new software to faster chipsets and cloud, you want to be flexible \u2013 not locked in to technological dead ends.\nService and pricing models. New ways to produce and consume products (utility or as-a-service), often involving a \u2018pay-as-you-go\u2019 subscription model, are always coming out. You want to be able to take advantage of them.\nCustomer interaction. Interaction between customers and businesses is big business and only going to get bigger, as demonstrated by the proliferation of Digital Transformation initiatives.\n\nStep 3: Determine The Process That Will Get You From Here To There\nIt would be nice if you could wave a magic wand and transform your business. But that\u2019s not reality. There are many phases and stages of transformation, so you need a process that will bring you from where you are to where you want to go. Some companies use Lean or Six Sigma to guide their business transformations. However, if you don\u2019t have the capital or internal resources to go that route, you might try the Deming Cycle, created in the 1950s by Dr. W. Edwards, a quality control expert.\nThe Deming Cycle works on the principle of Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA). \u2018Plan\u2019 involves the creation of a process improvement plan, \u2018Do\u2019 executes that plan, \u2018Check\u2019 verifies results (adjusting the plan accordingly), and \u2018Act\u2019 integrates the process improvement plan into the existing system. The use of the Deming Cycle allows companies to manage an entire process framework, monitor it, and improve it as problems or shortcomings are identified. This is not unlike the methodology necessary for Six Sigma certification, but without the expense. It is also included in best practice frameworks, such as ITIL v.3.\nPutting a toy together in the right sequence ensures your child\u2019s happiness. Putting your business transformation together in the right sequence ensures your company\u2019s success. It\u2019s worth the time and resources to do it right.