While I was cooking dinner recently I realized I grabbed too many onions from the onion bag. Not needing it at the moment, I put the extra onion in the fruit bowl on the kitchen table. A few days later, after sitting in the sunshine on the table, I noticed it had started to sprout.
As I prepare for my upcoming week, I realize that onion is a perfect example of what happens when you add new energy to a living thing that has been sitting dormant for a while - like some part of your business.
There are many moving parts to keeping our business alive. Sometimes we get so busy just 'doing' that we take our focus off of areas that need a little attention. We either ignore them because we don't know what to do, don’t have enough time to address it or we become comfortable with our old modes of operation that have now become habit. A business is a living, breathing entity. It needs to change and grow to stay alive. If we don't make the effort to shine a little light on these different areas, they can become atrophied and sooner or later damage the entire organism.
Ever Changing ...
Life and business is in a constant state of flux. Even if you just started your business a year ago, things have probably changed – you have probably changed. Since you have started, you have become more experienced in what you are doing. You may have noticed which products and/or services are more popular and/or you have probably gotten a better sense of what your clients like. You have a better handle on the competition. It’s important that we don’t get complacent.
The challenge with not taking the time to review your business is you may lose ground. Not keeping up with the needs of your audience makes you less attractive. One day you may find yourself scratching your head as your clients slowly - but surely - start moving to more progressive suppliers.
Summer tends to be slower for many businesses. If you are finding yourself stuck or dissatisfied with areas of your business, now might be the perfect opportunity to take the time to find the resources you need to help you energize your business. Take advantage of the slower pace to really take a look at the areas of your business, especially the ones that could use a little more life. Are you having a challenge with sales, operations, your business plan, employees? A little review might help you identify the cause. If you can’t seem to find it on your own, don’t be afraid to bring in a second (or third) set of eyes. There are many professionals out there that can help you uncover the bottlenecks in your operational flow. Investing a little in their services might save you in the long run and even increase your profit margin in a way you never expected.
One great source for helping review where you, is the Small Business Development Centers, a division of the U.S. Small Business Administration. (https://www.sba.gov/tools/local-assistance/sbdc). There are offices all around the country. They have resources in all areas of business and can easily help you.
Much like the onion, there are many layers to our business and shedding light on it helps keep it alive and growing. Sometimes it just takes a little to make a big difference.
Here’s to new growth!