Mike sat at his desk looking at month end numbers. He had the same sinking feeling he had last month and the month before it. His revenue was flat, expenses rising, which resulted in more "margin pressure."
Sadly, Mike's not alone. Every month small business leaders face the same dilemma. Many feel lost and overwhelmed because they're stuck.
But there's hope for Mike and everyone else.
It starts with a systematic approach to analyzing your business. Here are five categories to explore.
Start by answering basic straightforward questions:
- Does anyone want my product?
- Is my product noticeably better than the competition? (HINT: 10% better is all it takes.)
- Is the price worth the value it provides the customer?
Get real about your people. To get unstuck will require everyone, yes EVERYONE, to be focused and productive. Here are some questions to get started:
- When was the last time you reviewed or changed the organizational structure?
- Why do you have the people in the roles they have? Is that the best place for them to move the company forward?
- Who is under performing? If so, why? There are three possible reasons. Is it because their leader has not properly trained them, they don't have the right tools or resources to do the job, or are they in the wrong role?
- Who are the gossipers? They need to stop or be removed.
Taking a serious, hard look at people and performance in any small business can be uncomfortable. If you don't do it, however, there will always be a limit on your success.
There are two things to consider when reviewing processes: are they as simple as possible, and are they documented.
Simplicity is like oxygen to the athlete. If she isn't getting enough there's very little she can do to improve her performance. Likewise, your business can't perform at it's peak with unnecessary complexity in processes.
Documenting your processes has two benefits. First, it forces you to look at them and determine if they are as simple as possible. The second benefit is when it's time to scale or someone leaves the organization your team will be able to get the replacement up to speed as quickly as possible.
Many small business leaders get in their own way. 95% of the mental hurdles fall under fear or ignorance. If the problem is fear, face it and find a way to move forward. If the problem is ignorance, get educated. Find a mentor, hire a coach, or start your Google search for an education. Whatever problem you're trying to address has been faced by someone else.
5 Performance metrics
"What gets measured gets done." If your performance metrics don't match up to your desired outcomes then you need to change what's being measured.
Here's another tip: don't simply measure the outcome but also the activities that will produce the outcome. for example, if you want to increase sales by 10% next month, what will it take to reach the goal? Measure that. Measure the telephone calls, the sales meetings, or marketing emails sent to customers.
If you take the time to carefully inspect your business in these five areas you will start to see traction. Following this method can start to move your business forward within 90 days. Set aside the time on your calendar right now if you need to get unstuck and moving again.
Armour Martin Consulting LLC provides premium online content to help business leaders grow confidently in their business and see results in 90 days.
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