A man walks into a pub and says to the bartender, “Can you tell me the best way to get to the train station?” The bartender smiles and says, “I wouldn’t start from here!” Or so the old joke goes.
Often when business takes a downturn or is unpredictable, owners start to figure out ways to try and improve business.
Most ideas will be incremental and based upon refining or fixing something surrounding the existing processes. How to get more of “x”? Or do less of “y”?
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This may have a short-term impact, but quickly those same challenges will start to appear again and so the merry-go-round starts begins in earnest.
If it’s broke. Fix it: A common phrase is “let sleeping dogs lie” or “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” However, when things are broken, just doing “more” of what is broken can’t be the answer.
Sometimes you need to go drastic and maybe even consider changing everything.
The frightening part is that it’s likely that the time you are considering such a drastic change is also the time you are probably in a crisis-situation with little time, energy or money to be able to feel like you can change anything. Add the fear of losing what business you do have and it’s easy to see why people opt for the status quo.
So what can you do about it?
Take a good hard look at what you were doing when things were going well. What activities were you doing? Did you stop for some reason?
How is your mindset? While it’s sometimes hard to recreate the excitement of a new business and all the enthusiasm of a start-up it is easy to fall in a rut.
Are you taking full responsibility? Yikes – Yes I said it, it could be that you are responsible! So many people blame the weather, lower footfall on the high street, the economy and while they are factors, it doesn’t explain why others in the same industry are having record-breaking years.
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Get a second opinion. We are blessed in this region to have fantastic and generous business people who have been where you are today and have experienced everything you are seeing and then some. I haven’t met a successful business person who isn’t happy to offer guidance, best practice or advice to someone who needs it and usually for free or in return for a piece of the upturn if they are really getting down in the trenches with you to turn things around.
Finally, make sure you take time to totally switch off, even if it’s just for a few hours. Paint a wall, mow the lawn or go and play golf. Anything to stop you from being in the daily grind.
If nothing is working, then it’s time do something completely different. Your route to work, who you choose to work with, your products. Everything is fair game and success is the name of the game.