I have been enjoying the tennis at Wimbledon and and am looking forward to following the Tour de France as it slogs its way around Belgium and France. And although I am not fond of football was disappointed that the women did not make it to the finals of the World Cup.
The highs and lows of supporting a particular team or person, hoping they will win but having no control over the outcome, is surely one of the most exiting, but also most frustrating, things we do.
I sometimes feel that some business owners treat their businesses a little like they would a spectator sport. What I mean by this is that they don’t take enough ownership of the success, or lack of success, of their business.
I have had several conversations with small business owners recently which have gone like this:
Me: ‘So how’s it going’
Business Owner: ‘Well, we are struggling at the moment. The economy is improving but still not great… the bank won’t lend us the money we need… it’s difficult to get new customers… customers are slow in paying… we are having to cut prices… competitors are getting more aggressive with their marketing so we are losing business ‘
What they are really saying is ‘It’s someone else’s fault my business is not going well’. They are not taking ownership of the problem. They are looking at their business as a spectator would rather than a participant.
Yes, times have been tough but are fortunately getting better. Yes, the banks are certainly not just giving money away as they did in the ‘good old days’ before the banking crisis. But successful business owners look past these issues and change their way of working to get past adversity.
They take positive action to make sure they are paid as quickly as possible and manage their suppliers to reduce their dependancy on the banks.
They plan properly so they know exactly what their perfect customers look like – this makes it much easier target marketing effort at the right type of customer.
They follow up this marketing with professional sales techniques to bring new customers in.
They also provide superb customer service which reduces the risk of customers going elsewhere.
So, if your business is struggling it may be because you are a spending too much time as a spectator, and not enough time as a participant in its future success.