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If we’re not careful, we can become our company’s biggest enemy.
When business is booming it’s easy to get comfortable and rest on our laurels with the status quo.
After all, why not? The status quo is (or was) working wonders.
But if we’re not careful, complacency sneaks in, and before we know it we’re knee deep in crippling habits that wreak havoc from within.
We all have excuses for not changing and you’d better believe companies are full of them! Do any of the following phrases sound familiar?
“We’ve tried that before and it didn’t work.”
“I didn’t make my numbers because . . .”
“Here are all the things that could go wrong.”
“I didn’t know you needed that.”
“I can’t get everything done.”
“It’s not my job. It wasn’t my fault.”
“I wish management would stop changing their minds.”
Excuses signal deeply embedded systemic problems within an organization’s culture. And while you can’t predict or avoid certain hostile economic events, many companies suffer from the same five crippling habits that inhibit change, progress and growth.
Is your small business one of those companies?
Up one month, down the next.
Like it or not, this just seems to be our economic reality for the foreseeable future.
Unfortunately, you can’t just hit PAUSE until things improve. You’ve got a business to run!
Your job as a leader is to make the necessary adjustments to plow ahead and succeed.
So whether gas prices go up or down, the housing market improves or consumer optimism increases is all somewhat irrelevant to the small business owner.
While those factors may change the rules of the game, don’t let them alter your ability to manage a thriving business. You have to be willing to make some tough changes and ADAPT, but it doesn’t mean you can’t turn a profit.
Since it does no good to pretend conditions are better than they are, let’s first uncover the harsh realities of doing business and then look at six tangible leadership tactics to put you on the path to profitability.
With the right leadership skills, profitability for your business is not out of reach!
The Cold, Hard Facts
Along with declining employment, we also face increased gas prices, political uncertainty in Washington, as well as overseas, and overall rising costs for doing business. Oh, yes, and let’s not forget the credit situation which remains extremely tight. For small businesses in particular, the impact is draining.
On top of that, it’s simply becoming harder to compete. New businesses, created by smart, unemployed entrepreneurs, are popping up all over offering lower prices. And large companies (once competing up-market) now have moved down to go after smaller opportunities.
But enough doom and gloom, let’s focus on how you can navigate toward higher profitability by following a few simple leadership “Do’s and Don’ts.”
Don’t you love it when this happens:
You have a great idea, you gather all the resources needed to make it work, you implement your plan, and it’s a success!
You are a implementation and turnaround rock star!
But as time marches on things shift. And if you’re not completely in tune to those variances, it’s easy to look up and find your business plan completely off track.
But that’s Ok, every company gets off track. It happens.
The key is knowing how to figure out the problem so you can turn your business around quickly.
If you ignore the issues hoping they work themselves out, you can get yourself and the company in dire straits with no “good” way out. Right now, a number of companies such as Dollar Thrifty Automotive and Radio Shack are seriously off track, and it remains to be seen whether they’ll be able fix their problems.
Returning to a Path of Profitability After You’ve Fallen Off Course: Read more
If you’re waiting for the current slow market to get better, you’re wasting a golden opportunity to beef up your small business profit strategies through aggressive change management while you have the time.
What do you think your competitors are doing right now?
If they’re smart — and I’ll bet they are — they’re using this time to fine-tune their operations and prepare for the future, not just waiting for it to happen.
You may think you can’t increase profitability in a slow economy, but I’m here to tell you that you can, and you must.
Now, you’ll have to make a real commitment to change if you want to be a front runner when things get better again — and they will get better — but you need to base your planning on a realistic view of your market.
In this post, I’m going to outline EXACTLY what your small business needs to do to increase profits, regardless of what’s going on with the economy. Read more
By Bob Prosen | Comments 2
Last week I asked more than 1,000 small business leaders across the country to evaluate the importance of Top 10 critical business challengesand over 26% of the people responded! Take a few minutes to find out what leaders identified as their top eight challenges. Do you agree with them?
For a year that was supposed to hold such economic promise, it certainly didn’t deliver.
In fact, most small business leaders I talk to still feel the heavy weight of uncertainty and question their ability for growth in this economic recovery.
The way I see it, we have two options: become paralyzed by circumstances or adapt.
Like you, I’m also a small business owner and entrepreneur so I know the “sit and wait” approach is not even an option!
While there is much to consider in a down economy, let’s boil it down to basics.
Before you do anything else, you need to gauge your trust leadership by asking yourself, “Do my employees trust me and the company’s leaders?” To assume the answer is “yes” does you no good, so be honest. Want the truth? Look closely at your company’s culture.
So how do you know if you’ve developed leadership trust?
You may think you’re a pretty good leader, but if the people you depend on to get the work done are not coming through for you, you have to consider that they might not be the problem. A leadership self assessment may be called for here.
What is a leadership self assessment? Well, when was the last time you checked your own leadership effectiveness pulse? How about your leadership team – your managers and supervisors? Does your leadership team measure up? If not, how exactly do you measure and assess their effectiveness?
The only way to know for sure is to measure and evaluate, and I’ll bet it’s been awhile since you did that. So get a pencil and paper and let’s do a leadership self assessment right now. Read more