The myth most business owners believe: I can still get the job done, it can wait.
Why this myth causes a problem: Just about every week I meet with business owners who have waited too long to address an issue that has now become an emergency! The numbers of potential problems just waiting to trip up a business owner are almost limitless. The most common first symptom that a business owner usually has is a shortage of cash.
The truth successful business owners learn the hard way! You can never rest! A successful business owner is always on the lookout for little problems that can grow into huge problems that can threaten the survival of their company.
One of the ways they do this is by updating their strategic plan at least annually. They pay particular attention to external threats that are affecting their business now and could threaten their very survival in the future.
I know that this sounds somewhat melodramatic. But, consider the fate of BlockBuster. A decade ago they had a rapidly expanding business and were a leader in the home entertainment market. But, they failed to see the threat that a small startup named Netflix represented. Now they are in bankruptcy.
The second thing a successful business does is review their internal systems annually. They are looking for better ways to deliver their products and meet the needs of their customers. Failing to do this often leads to a competitor who took the time to improve their systems stealing your customers.
Third, they review their marketing and sales tools to make sure they are still reaching and appealing to their “ideal” customer. With the internet and social media changing the way your customers are interfacing with businesses almost on an hourly basis, failing to at least consider the impact of these items on your business may make you the next “Blockbuster”.
Fourth, a successful business owner understands that their employees are one of their most important assets. They review their personnel needs with their current employees and determine whether any changes are needed. Do they need new employees, an improved training program, a better recruitment plan, changes in the compensation plan and many, many more employee related items?
Finally, a successful business owner doesn’t ignore the financial side of their business. They have accounting systems that provide them with accurate data that allows them to make educated business decisions rather than making decisions based on a hunch. They have a budget that supports their business goals. And finally, they also understand the importance of tax planning.
Lesson learned: If you want to grow a profitable business you must plan for success and solve problems before they grow to such a size that they threaten the very survival of your business.