If you currently run your own business or are thinking of starting a business, you may be looking rather tentatively at the current economic situation and wondering where it’s all going to go over the next few months. Unfortunately, we can’t offset the volatility over gas prices, guarantee your supply chains won’t struggle or help you recruit more staff! It is a challenging time and there is no getting around that.
Objectivity is the key to success
However, there are areas in which you can help yourself and keep an advantage over the competition. Utilising an element of objectivity when assessing your business performance and keeping realistic and flexible objectives are the way forward.
Quite often this can be the difference between success and failure, as those individuals who can take an objective view will do what is necessary to ensure their business survives, even if this involves some very tough decisions. Having an open mind about opportunities, allowing others to suggest improvements and being honest about where you may have weak areas in your skillset is a strength.
Here are a few areas to focus on, that are key to stopping subjectivity and incorrectly focused emotion undermine your business:
Watch your income stream and outgoings
Ignoring what your income stream is doing and what is going out of the business financially doesn’t make any problems in those areas go away.
Your accounts are the “medical charts” for your business. They are also indicative of whether the business model your are using is working or failing. It’s sometimes hard to admit that an idea that looked great on paper is not popular with clients. It may be down to indifferent marketing, a wrong target audience or it just needs a simple tweak to make it work. If your business model is not bringing in the income it needs to do, then your days are numbered as a business if you choose to ignore your financial information.
Others have been through what you are going through
If you are working by yourself, in a start-up business or you are in a very small management team, you can be fooled by the echo-chamber effect. You tend to hear what you want to hear and there are few options to get independent feedback or advice. There are lots of business networking groups out there; there are lots of industry groups and support social networks available. Join some of them and see what works for you. If you are facing a problem, odds on someone else has had to deal with a similar problem before you encountered it. They can give you advice on what they did (even if it didn’t work!) and help you focus on what is likely to be the best option to fix the problem.
Be honest with yourself
Looking at yourself with objectivity is very difficult. Owning up to those parts of our personalities we may not want to face up to is a challenge. There are various “self-help” approaches available that can be very useful in terms of breaking down some of our own self defensive mechanisms and allowing a more honest appraisal of what we are not very good at. You can also ask those you trust to give you feedback (constructive!) on what they think you should focus on. This could be communication, written style, management techniques etc.
Moving forward in difficult times
First of all, let’s be clear about one thing. Passion and self-belief are vital to building a great business. Don’t feel that you need to totally remove your own emotional involvement from your business. What you do need to do is find the space and confidence to stand back once in a while and take in the view, particularly where economic conditions are changing quickly and the environment is challenging.
Building objectivity into your business skillset can take time. Get help if you need to. rhw have helped hundreds of businesses over the years with their legal and trading documentation, business structures and overall day to day business advice.