We all know how much work it takes to survive, let alone thrive as an entrepreneur. We have all put in the long hours and have faced disappointments along with the successes that come with the territory. Some days, you’re just freaking awesome. On others, not so much. It just feels like you’re taking one step forward and two steps back. Such is the life we have chosen!
You work your butt off to get the business, but somewhere along the line you or your staff drops the ball and turn in a less than stellar performance. This typically results in a call from an unhappy client that until you picked up the phone, you were totally oblivious to any problem, and now you start to scramble. Not only do you scramble for the right words to appease the client, but you scramble for suitable solution that will hopefully make things right. Sometimes it’s a simple fix, but more often than not, it usually costs you a chunk of your day and worse, a chunk of your profits.
If we’re to be honest, this has happened to everyone on occasion, but what really concerns me, is when this happens with such frequency it’s just accepted as another day paradise. Unfortunately, I see a lot of businesses that seem to operate in this constant crisis mode. If it wasn’t for the abilities of these owners to placate the customers, they would have ceased to exist long ago. But seriously, what a waste of energy, talent and resources.
If we could just step back for a moment and look how much effort goes into “making things right” with the customer, it really is a shame. What if all that energy could be focused on moving the company to the next level or to deal with higher value initiatives, instead of wasting it on fire fighting activities that should have never occurred?
How do you want it done?
The thing is, it takes just as much energy to have a great company as it does to have a mediocre one. The big difference is in order to create a great company, you need to take the initiative and be proactive by doing the following:
● You need to set the priorities.
● You need to train your people.
● You need to create the systems.
● You need to set the minimum acceptable performance thresholds.
If you noticed, the operative word being “you”! You have to roll up your sleeves and you have to figure out what you want and how you want it done.
In some ways, constantly operating in crisis mode is easier, you just let it happen and then react to it when it comes up. That way you can spend the rest of your time, if there is any, blissfully ignorant of all the problems. But this is a highly stressful way to run a business and your life and to be honest, it gets really tiresome after a while.
The right moment will never come
Alternatively, if you want a calmer work environment, then you’ll need to take a proactive approach. The problem is, it’s all about you. It all rests on your shoulders to start the transition. The challenge of course, if you’re already living in small business hell, is you’ll need to dig even deeper to find some time and the energy to start making the changes. Let me caution you, that if you think you need to wait for just the right moment start to making changes, you’re only fooling yourself, because that moment will never come.
So, in order to break this logjam of when to start, my best advice, is to start right where you are. Stop what you’re doing, take a deep breath and ask yourself these 5 questions:
● What is the current crisis you’re dealing with?
● What went wrong?
● Is this a recurring issue?
● What could I have done to prevent this?
● What can I do to prevent this from happening again?
When you ask these questions, make sure you do a 360 degree look at the situation. It’s really easy to lay the blame in the wrong area, because chances are it’s a combination of missteps. Throwing your hands up and saying you shouldn’t have to worry about this stuff is what got you here in the first place and is not going to fix anything. You do have to worry about this stuff.
It’s a teaching moment
Once you’ve identified the root cause of the problem, lay out a plan to ensure it doesn’t happen again and make sure everyone involved, knows.
You need to understand that people want to learn and to be better. It’s your job to teach them, because that’s what leaders do, to show them a better way. So, this is not a time for screaming and yelling, it’s a teaching moment.
Hoping and praying that things will get better all on their own, is a fallacy. When you started your company you had a vision. Unfortunately, somewhere along way it has gone sideways and now you find yourself wondering what you’ve got yourself into and you’re probably tired of it.
Letting people know what you expect done, how you expect it done and when you expect it done, will go a long way to transition your business from average to great.
Copyright © Greg Weatherdon 2019
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