I am a bear with a sore head at the moment! I have been suffering from the most excruciating headaches for the last 6 weeks. I have tried to treat the symptoms with pain medication, physiotherapy, and a chiropractor. But there is definitely something more deep-seated that only an MRI can reveal.
What are the headaches in your business? What causes them? And how can they be treated? Is there a quick treatment for the symptoms? Does it need intensive remedies? Or do you need to take it more seriously and explore the root causes of these pains?
Headaches in business are a fact of life. I am yet to work with a business that is perfectly healthy in every respect. In my experience as a business coach, business pains fall into 3 categories: Time, Team and Money
Symptom: Too much to do, too little time.
Cause: Many business owners are so busy working IN the business, that they don’t have time to work ON the business. It’s like people who are too busy to exercise, too busy to eat healthily, too busy to take care of themselves. Just as your health suffers when you fail to look after yourself, your business suffers when you fail to work on it. Perhaps your business is under-resourced. Maybe your systems and procedures are counterproductive. Are you over-promising? Are you a procrastinator? What is the reason for your time troubles?
Treatment: The only way to ensure that you work in the business is to make time for it. Diarise the time and make yourself unavailable for other day to day tasks. Reprioritise. Work smartly on things that are important, not only on things that are urgent. Take stock of your resources and delegate. Hold yourself and others accountable. Find ways to do things quicker so you are not reinventing the wheel every time you do routine tasks. Be realistic about what is possible in the time available.
Symptom: The team is dysfunctional or underperforming
Cause: Humans are complex beings with individual idiosyncrasies. Put a number of people together and the complexities multiply. Office politics, differing work ethics, and nonaligned values all cause pain in a business.
Treatment: It’s important to get the right people on board at the outset. When the team has shared values, respect for each other’s skills and roles, a common vision and goals to work towards, the team functions as a unit. Sorting out team issues may require an in-depth analysis of the current situation to understand the underlying perceptions of the workplace culture. It’s not possible to treat a dysfunctional team without a complete diagnosis of the root cause.
Symptom: Profit deficiencies, negative cash flow
Cause: Financial issues are caused by a multitude of reasons, many of which boil down to a simple lack of understanding of financial fundamentals. If you are not profitable, it’s because your income is less than your expenses. This could be due to under-pricing, paying too much for services and products, not having enough customers, performing transactions without managing cash flow, not managing debtors, buying too much stock, or someone putting a hand in the till.
Treatment: It’s impossible to run a business profitably without a budget and a plan to meet the budget. Forecasts, tighter controls and regular analysis of the key numbers in the business will contribute to financial health.
When last did you do a business health check? Complete our online business health check here to find your business headaches, then give us a call to help treat the causes rather than the symptoms.