I Can See Clearly Now

We have all heard that “human nature” is one of the reasons we resist change. Reasons are better described as excuses, and business owners can’t afford excuses.

Complacency is a business killer, but fear not. Help is there, if you are willing to accept it. The next phone call, or knock on your door, just might be the answer to your problem.

Fear of the unknown
Change creates anxiety. You can reduce the anxiety for the short term by resisting change. Without change, anxiety from business problems will consume you and doom your business to failure. Don’t fear failure. Instead, let the possibility of failure drive you to improve on a daily basis.

Expand Your comfort zone
We are creatures of habit. Life is easier when we seek and find stability. Unfortunately this does not hold true for business owners. Sitting back and hoping that your business problems will go away is not an option. Commit to exploring different and more effective ways to run your business. If you are not aware of a better way to improve your business, you may benefit from outside ideas. Seek assistance to improve your abilities and recognize the warning signs of issues before they become problems. Most businesses lack the basic management tools and reports to allow for the recognition of problems and permit informed, effective decisions.

Trust in the value of outside consulting help
It might be difficult for you to believe that an outsider can provide much needed assistance with the management, or structure, of your business. Consulting helps you, the owner, understand the business of the business. Simply put, the business side of your trade. Business is business. Theories to improve operational efficiencies, sales and marketing, business structure to protect against litigation and effective tax planning can transcend your particular business. Consultants offer specific, yet global, expertise that is lacking internally or externally from your current pool of talent. Good sound business sense is a common trait that can be traced through all successful businesses.

Minimize trial and error learning
Don’t spin your wheels. It could be costing you customers, time, money and good employees. An effective, experienced consultant enables you to quickly understand the value of learning before mistakes are made, or at least before they become fatal. Knowledge is power. A successful consultant understands the practices that enable your business to thrive and learn why other businesses fail at an alarming rate.

Adapt to change or face extinction
Embrace new ideas and seek to make your business better everyday. Don’t perceive those warning signs as temporary. You must be able to recognize those signs or seek the assistance of someone who can. Unfortunately, you probably won’t get help from competing businesses that have recognized the problems, adapted and changed. Accept change—don’t be a stick in the mud. Dinosaurs are the ultimate example of the result of ‘stick in the mud’ thinking.

Be an effective leader and manager
Seek a mentor to enhance your natural ability to lead. An effective leader surrounds themselves with good people. This support group provides expertise and available time to provide better ideas. Consultants can bridge the gap when certain experience and expertise are lacking internally. Don’t pick the best person you have, rather, pick the best person available. If a consultant can’t convince you that they are the best one for the task at hand, keep looking.

Don’t procrastinate
Businesses fail when owners fail to recognize the signs that help is needed. You should understand the short term time and expenses to engage a consulting project, versus the long term costs of not improving or remaining competitive.

Realize the limitations of your current outside help
All businesses rely on the assistance of accountants and attorneys. You sought this assistance because you realized your limitations in these areas and their abilities to provide much needed expertise. Don’t stop looking now. Understand what specific knowledge and abilities they posses to contribute to the success of your business. You’ll likely find that most of these professionals lack the experience of running an entire business. Talk to them about their specific experiences in providing practical solutions to similarly situated business owners. Or better yet, their personal experiences in running a business. Again, don’t settle for the best person they have on their staff. Seek the best and most experienced person available.

Are your professionals resistant to working with outside consultants?
Current employees that have a defensive reaction may be more worried about their business, rather than your business. It is very easy to shoot someone else’s ideas down. It is more difficult and challenging to listen, learn and suggest further improvements to those ideas. Effective consultants involve both internal and external staff. Hopefully, all of these individuals are confident in their current contributions and are equally aware of their current limitations. It’s your business, be proactive when you have overcome your own fear inhibiting your ability to be a successful.