Is your business getting better?

Mark Twain Quote

I really don’t like going to see the doctor.  It’s irrational, it’s fear-based (although I can’t pinpoint it to anything specific) and in the grand scheme of things, I know it’s not good for me.

But that doesn’t change the fact that I will fight going to see a doctor at every turn.  I’m working on it and as I get older (wiser?) I think I’m getting better, but it’s still an uphill battle.

At this point, you may be thinking – what does this have to do with building a better business?

Great question! (thanks for asking.) This came to mind because of a conversation I had with my business partner observing how few business owners are comfortable getting help with their business.  Just like my fear of doctors, there are a lot of business owners out there who either don’t like the idea or are afraid to get an outside opinion on what’s going on with their business.  See how this is all tying together?

What’s the big deal?

A friend of mine shares my fear / dislike of going to doctors, but it’s had a much bigger impact on him.  In his case, he ended up hurting his knee (sports related injury).  He thought it was bad at the time, but instead of getting it looked at, he decided to just let it heal on it’s own.  Which took a really long time – and, as it turns out, was a really bad idea.

You see he had actually ruptured some tendons and torn some things in the knee that aren’t supposed to be torn.  And although they eventually, kind of, healed, they didn’t heal the right way and his knee never got back to normal.  And the real kicker (no pun intended), is that there’s nothing a doctor can do now (short of a knee replacement) because it healed the wrong way.  He’s kind of stuck with a bad knee and it impacts him every day.

Is your business injured?

Almost every business has weak spots.  It could be a less than ideal business model that’s slowing you down.  It could be a weak employee.  Your pricing and profitability might be off or maybe you’ve got really inefficient systems or processes.

Whatever the case might be, lingering problems with a business don’t tend to go away on their own.  They don’t just ‘get better’ – and in some cases, they can do major, permanent damage (just like my friend’s knee).

The question is – are you dealing with some kind of ongoing problem within your business and you’re not even aware or it?  Or are you aware but just don’t know how to do anything about it?

What can I do?

Here are 3 things to think about if you have the business equivalent fear of not going to the doctor…

Keep an open mind and keep learning – Great books, great podcasts, even great blog posts are being written all the time.  They won’t all apply to you, you won’t agree with a lot of them but if you’re willing to consider them, you will learn and get better – and that’s a big part of your job as a business owner.

Get an outside perspective – I’m biased on this one, since this is what we do at Aspire, but I can tell you that our clients benefit greatly from the ideas and feedback that we bring to them.  As someone who’s not part of the day-to-day drama of the business, it’s much easier for an outside advisor to  see challenges and suggest improvements that you might not have thought about.  Sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know…

Take time for planning – I get it, plan is a four-letter word and it can be really difficult to set aside quality time for a planning exercise.  But if you’re doing it the right way, a good planning session will end up saving you a lot of time (and money) and will force you to take a fresh look at what’s going on with your business.

And as they say, the first step in solving a problem is admitting  you have one…!

What are you going to do?

I’m not bragging (although it is an accomplishment for me) but I just wrapped up my annual check-up with my doctor.  Luckily there were no major issues but there were some important things to think about and although I really, really didn’t want to go – in hindsight, I’m glad I went.

If you haven’t looked to improve your business proactively for a while, you’re probably thinking you don’t have time for it (or just don’t want to).  It won’t be that bad – and it may turn out that you come across some ideas that help you make a lot more money or work less.

What do you think?  Are you up for getting better?  We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Shawn Kinkade   Kansas City Business Coach