When you have a headache, you might just take some aspirin and be confident that it will go away. But what happens when you keep getting the same headache over and over? Do you keep taking an aspirin, or do you try to find out what is causing the headaches and solve the root cause of your problems?
When you run a small business, there are many different types of challenges – headaches - you will face. Your level of pain often dictates the small business solutions you seek, but like that persistent headache, the only real solution is to figure out the root cause of the pain. When the pain is great, you often end up going for the quick fix rather than the comprehensive fix. You just want to stop the pain, so you’re not focused on finding out what’s causing it.
There are several classes of pain you may feel:
Your Pain Is Visible to the Outside World
When your pain is visible, it’s already costing you in terms of customer retention and perhaps even employee retention. It’s often the most likely pain to be handled with a reactive solution. It can be hard to figure out what it is really costing you, but you know you’re bleeding (money, time, people, customers) so you react. That is when a conversation with other team members might be helpful so that you can determine a more comprehensive, proactive solution.
You Don’t Know There’s Pain, but It’s Costing You
The hidden pain can be even worse than the pain you know about, because you can go for a very long time not realizing that you may not be running as efficiently as you can be. Realizing there is a problem may be as simple as identifying where your business operations are out of alignment with your business goals. Recognizing and resolving challenges is vital in order to achieve long-term success at any business level.
You Know There’s Pain, but You Attribute it to the Wrong Place
Often, the leaders of a business blame the problems on the bottom line, not realizing that how they are spending the budget is as important as what they’re spending it on. If everything they do is a reaction instead of a proactive plan that implements best practices, they’ll never stop feeling the pain. This is the pain where it is most critical to identify the underlying cause and resolve it by implementing proactive solutions.
Small businesses get out of alignment and feel pain when they don’t invest in their infrastructure in proactive ways. The leadership of the company must make assessments that focus on whatever the organizational goals are. By understanding your goals, you can develop comprehensive processes for meeting those goals and identify the right partners who can help you achieve your mission.
Begin with open, honest discussions regarding your concerns, with nothing held back. What are the risks within your business? What are people going to think about your company? Do you have any fears about change? In other words, lay everything out on the table first. Find out what the real issue is, how it affects your business and make the decision to change it.
Most business owners encounter uncertainty at one time or another. Unfortunately, these doubts can sometimes lead to making wrong decisions for the wrong reasons, or perhaps worse, avoidance and delay tactics become an impediment to your better judgment. Consequently, you end up still running your business poorly, still spending too much, having poor capital management, and still having poor productivity. Self-doubt can usually be averted by simply talking about it. Put it on the table, discuss it, and then you can turn it into something you can deal with.
- When you feel pain in your business, it’s best to get to the root cause of the pain rather than try to mask it.
- Reactive solutions to your business pain will only perpetuate the problems. Get proactive.
- Don’t let doubt or uncertainty prevent you from having a clear picture of the course you need to take.