Often when I start working with a business owner, they tell me what they need to improve so that their business will be much better. What would that key thing be in your business? Better cash flow? Better marketing? Better staff? Better sales skills? Better time management?
If something just popped into your head, it might genuinely be that key thing holding back your business. But most often than not, I find that the first thing, and even the second and third, are the comfortable ‘excuses’ that can sound valid, but which really are not the true issue. They might be a significant symptom, but they’re not the cause.
Now forgive me, I’m a Business Coach, so I need to be brutally honest in order to help. Don’t shoot the messenger! The cause… is you… the business owner. That concept probably doesn’t sit comfortably, and why would it? Most business owners seem to think they should be infallible, know all the answers, and never make mistakes. It’s an unachievable level of performance, but few openly admit it to themselves, even if they admit it to others. Few owners ask for help – they equate asking for help with failing, so they just resolve to try harder.
If your cash flow is poor, it’s up to you to fix it. If you don’t know how, ask someone that will know. Perhaps your accountant or bookkeeper. Perhaps you need to outsource the cash collection if you hate chasing people for money. But if you leave it as it is, then its poor state is down to you. Even if you’ve got someone doing it for you, if the results are poor, the corrective action is in your hands – it’s down to you.
If your marketing or sales skills in the business are poor – it’s down to you. Ask a marketing or sales expert for some advice on what to do. Or read some books or get some training. But if you allow poor results to continue – it’s down to you.
If you feel your staff are the weakness in your business, why did you recruit poor staff? You need to ensure they’re trained and motivated or replaced. The solution is in your hands. If you don’t know how then seek some help. Ask an HR expert or perhaps even ask your staff.
Sorry if that all seems rather harsh. It’s often said that it’s lonely at the top, and it can be. The buck stops with the owner. But just because you own a business doesn’t mean you suddenly gain magical powers and know all the skills! The skills are all around you in books and in other people. The only skills you really need to have to run a successful enterprise business are those of identifying the key problems and asking the right people for help. You might not like asking for help, but trust me, it’s a lot better than struggling on alone and accepting poor results.
What’s truly holding back your business and who do you need to ask for help? Ask today.