Business eating into life? Not performing as expected? Worse yet, no positive change on the horizon? Hearing stories of family business owners excited by their business ideas can sound like a fairy tale. There are some things you should know about success stories.
First, you seldom hear about their struggles. Success seldom happens just by being in the right place. Every successful business will have their struggles too - they're just not usually part of the public story - but are an important part of growth.
Second, success also doesn't come instantly. We all know about Pokemon Go's dramatic "instant" success - but if you follow that story backwards, it was a very long time in coming together. Most businesses never achieve their potential. That doesn't mean you can't grow your business rapidly - but slow and steady often achieves better long-term results.
Third, very few successes are solely the result of one person's effort. If you haven't read it, Michael Gerber's "The E-Myth Revisited" identifies three skill-sets needed in every business. Two of these (entrepreneur and manager) are diametrically opposed personalities - no normal person can be both. This doesn't mean they can't act as both - but they won't make the best of the opportunities. You don't have to have it all within the business - you can have family and friends who can help - or you can get outside help.
So take a fresh look at your situation. Even that is easier said than done. For a start, if you own a business, you have a lot of pressures on your time. We often use the phrase "working on the business rather than in the business". Most of us don't have (or rather don't prioritise) time to work on the business.
When we're engrossed in the business it can be hard to see things with fresh eyes. His wife and I had tried to convince a business owner about part of the business without success. It was only when we tackled a different issue (vision) that he suddenly saw how that part of the business (his personal favourite) was adversely affecting things.
A fresh look
When you take a fresh look, where do you start? We suggest looking at yourself. No business is truly going to succeed if it's not helping us achieve our personal goals. We have a free tool to provide a quick (we're not psychologists) summary of this for you.
Having aligned business and personal goals, you can then do what is called a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis. It might seem strange not jumping in and "fixing" things from the start - but you don't build a building without preparation and planning. And when you do start, initial site preparation comes before you lay the foundations. Then you build the rest - often in fairly quick time.
We have two tools to help with this stage. The first is a brief analysis you can do on your own (at no cost). You can do this with us (that costs $150 plus GST), but you are welcome to do it yourself. There are three main benefits from our input. We know the tool so can clarify any uncertainty. We can provide an independent view of your business. We have experience with many different businesses so the questions we ask aren't just random or text-book questions. All of this means the results are more likely to produce meaningful change. Plus if we're involved at this stage, we can help with advice during the actual implementation of the ideas. And that's really where it starts to make a difference to your business.
The second tool is basically the same as the first - only much more detailed. It is an in-depth analysis of more issues. We love this tool - but don't recommend it until you've done the first. Maybe you will achieve so much from the free tool you don't need more - although when your business stops growing it starts going backwards. But if you do the first step properly, the lessons you learn there can carry through to growing small businesses in many ways.