"Help! My plans for growing my business aren't working!"
Every entrepreneur has moments like these when no matter what you do, nothing seems to work and you are going round in circles. You have two choices. You can get frustrated. Or you can start to create from a totally different space. So many times when things haven't worked for me, I have realised that there were other possibilities that actually would create the business even more dynamically than I had imagined. I just needed to be willing to be flexible and change my plans.
Here are three 'get moving fast' strategies to explore:
1. WHAT is it EXACTLY that is not working?
We often assume that we know what it is that's not working. And mostly the root cause is something else entirely. Ask a lot of questions to discover what is actually going on. Have you been trying to fix the 'wrong' problem? For example: If you are not winning enough business, look at the entire process - where exactly is it not working?
Ask questions of your sales team, your clients and potential clients. What is the system, process or relationship that is not delivering the results you desire? (This is not a head-hunt for poor performing staff!! In most cases there is another reason - that is just the lazy business owner's assumption.)
2. WHAT could you do DIFFERENT that would create a different result?
What worked 2 or 5 or 20 years ago may no longer be relevant. What has changed inside and outside of your business? What do you need to change in response that would change the results you are creating? What are the new possibilities that you haven't even considered yet? When we take off the blinkers and start to be creative, new choices arrive. We must be willing to change.
In one of my businesses, I recently went from being fully booked for the next two months, to having almost nothing going on. The causes were diverse and beyond my control. I gave myself ten seconds to be frustrated and then I was asking 'what's next?'.
I realised this situation had created the possibility for something new that I have desired to do for a long time, that I just never get to. The new strategy will also create the future situation where it won't matter if people don't do what they say. My revenue streams will be diversified enough to make their choices irrelevant!! And what else is possible that I haven't imagined yet?
3. Make your business FLEXIBLE!
Whatever systems, processes, products or services your business has, you need to be aware of how you can be flexible with what you have. There is a lot of chaos in the world right now, and will be for the foreseeable future. When you explore future scenarios for your business, take note of what can be changed quickly, and where you are locked in. If you are agreeing to new contracts, look for the flexibility. If you are employing staff, engage people who are flexible and willing to do whatever it takes.
I was called into a client's business to work out what was not working with their processes. I had been there less than 5 minutes when the new office manager sat down (uninvited!) and told me how she was being asked to do things that weren't her job and that she wasn't going to do. There was no willingness to contribute to the success of the business, there was no interest in being flexible. There was no interest in ensuring that clients were attended to quickly. Her attitude was all about 'I'm not going to....'. She was first on my list of what needed to change.
So what is it that would make your business way more flexible and responsive to change than it is now? Cross-skilling staff? Space for a change in attitude? Simpler processes and systems that people will actually be willing to follow?
These three strategies can change things quickly. Ask enough questions and you will become aware of exactly what else is needed for your business to move forward again. Staying stuck is a choice.
If you are really really really stuck, you can always ask an external coach or mentor to assist. That independent point of view truly does bring a fresh perspective.
What can you change to make your business more profitable! (What if you could enjoy making the changes??)