Weekly Business Idea

August 3, 2018 – What Decision am I Avoiding?

Posted on | August 3, 2018 | No Comments

Main Idea:

Is there a conversation that you need to have but have been putting off?  Is something in your business not working right but you are afraid to fix it because the rest of the business is going well?  Is there a decision that you need to make but you are concerned that you will make the wrong one?  Is procrastination one of your core values?

Expansion of the Idea:

Most of us have our routines and preferred methods of doing business.  We have systems for running our businesses.  We have vendors we deal with.  Our product lines are identified.  We are constantly focused on trying to get new sales but the rest of our business is frequently constant.  We get the same reports and we make the same decisions.  We get into ruts.  The good part of ruts is that they help you move in a certain direction.  The bad part is that direction may not be where you need to go.

I was reminded about these ruts by a number of situations in the past couple of weeks.  My men’s group has been meeting in a certain place that isn’t meeting our needs.  The service has been going downhill and the place is just not clean.  The problem is that it hasn’t been a good place to meet for several months.  However, we were ignoring some warning signs and kept meeting there.  Finally, we decided that we needed to rethink our decisions.  We will end up changing but there is a cost to changing.  Too often we put off these decisions because we think we won’t like what the future holds.  As a result, we get stuck in the past.

I see this frequently with small businesses.  They have policies that worked 10 years ago.  Now, Amazon has changed their industry and they have to do something different.  (As a side note, Amazon doesn’t have to be in your industry to change your customer’s perceptions of service.)  Business owners have advisors who are stuck in the past.  There might be a key employee who has always produced but isn’t producing at the same level.  A key product is slowly losing its market share.

In every business there are a number of decisions that are never identified or if identified, are never addressed.  Business owners risked everything when they went into business but now when they are making decent money they don’t want to risk anything else.  This is the equivalent of the prevent defense in football.  How often does the prevent defense actually prevent the team with the lead from winning the football game?  Business owners need to continually improve their businesses and to do that, they need to embrace risk.  The key is to control the risk and make decisions when they need to.

The funny part of these decisions is that frequently we have a little voice in our heads that is telling us we need to do something.  Yet we don’t do anything because we are afraid of the consequences.  However, there are consequences if we don’t do anything.  Henry Cloud writes about playing our life forward as if it were a movie.  What would the future look like when you take the current situation and view yourself 2 months or 2 years in the future?  If that isn’t going to work for you, then you need to do something.

The starting point for all of this is to identify the decisions that you are making implicitly, ignoring or avoiding.  Some should legitimately be deferred because there is no harm in doing so.  Some should be delegated because someone on your team is in a better place to make the decision.  Others need to be addressed sooner rather than later.  When problems are allowed to fester, they generally won’t improve by themselves.  When we get ahead of some of these issues, we can really drive our businesses.  It may take 5 hours to fix something now.  If allowed to continue, we can add a zero or two to that fix.

Questions to Ponder

  1. Are there decisions you know you need to address?
  2. Are there conversations that need to be had?
  3. Why are you putting off the decisions or conversations?
  4. What is the cost of not addressing the issue?
  5. Gather information to minimize the risks.
  6. Brainstorm with your team or advisors.

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    These weekly ideas are brought to you by FitzGerald & FitzGerald P.C. For more information about how to use these ideas with your small business contact Tim FitzGerald at trfitz@fitz-net.com.