An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, am I right? I bet you heard that from grandparents, parents, teachers, and just about any other adult wanting to pass some wisdom on to your young self.
It applies to all kinds of things in our lives. Our cars or our houses are easy examples. I’ve never heard anyone say it’s better to wait for something to break than to do regular maintenance.
That idea comes up even more when we talk about your health. Few doubt the wisdom of regular check-ups. Or of dealing with problems when they are small and treatable.
So, why don’t more business owners think that way when it comes to their business?
As a business coach, I hear a lot of owners tell me they don’t have any problems.
It may be true that they don’t have any big, painful crises at the moment. It’s almost always true, though, that they have a lot of little things going on. Those little things may be hidden, or may only be a minor annoyance.
Those little things can quickly turn into major problems in the right conditions.
- That customer who is a little behind defaults on a large invoice, causing a major cash flow crisis
- That practical joker in the office gets you sued for creating a hostile work environment
- Those “no big deal” service problems piled up to the point a big client fired you. Now you need to lay off half the company to stay afloat.
I could go on, but you get the idea.
Every one of those things could have been addressed with little pain if handled before the crisis. Not only that, but the solutions would have made the company stronger.
When you wait for a crisis to fix a problem, you can bet that fixing it will be:
- more expensive
- more difficult
- more painful
Assuming, of course, that it’s fixable at all at that point.
Don’t wait for the next crisis to address those little problems. Create a process to find and fix those “little annoyances” everywhere. Not only will you avoid many unnecessary crises, you will build a stronger business. A business that can grow more and grow faster. A business that has motivated, engaged employees. A business that has happy customers.
Scour every aspect of the business looking for all the inefficiencies. Find all the hacks that employees use to get something done. Find all the friction points with your customers and between employees.
Then deal with them. One at a time. Thoughtfully. Systematically. Enjoy that you have the luxury of doing it this way because there is no crisis yet.
On the surface, this sounds simple. But the reality is this requires a change in mindset and culture. Like any journey worth taking, it requires some work.
Don’t know where to start?
A key part of what I do with my clients is to examine the business to find those little problems. Then we create plans to fix them.
If you wait until there is a crisis to call me, it may be too late to help you.