Groundhog Day for Business
9 Signs Your Business Won’t Make it Through the Next 6 Weeks of Winter (and how to combat them)
It’s nice that as a society we have a mammal to tell us about the weather- If Mr. Phil sees his shadow, we’ll be cursed with six more weeks of winter, if not we’ll get an early spring. It would be convenient if it were that easy to predict everything else.
You might not have a groundhog to tell you about the future of your business, but there are some sure office indicators that can give you a clue.
1)Unclear directions, goals, and mission
If your employees don’t have a solidified goal as a team, it’s hard to work together to accomplish anything! With everyone going in different directions, without a cohesive goal, your company is more likely to decline rather than grow.
Establish a common overarching goal and work as a team to define each person’s role in accomplish it. If you’re struggling with this, go back to your business plan for guidance.
One Business Document Your Lawyer Forgot About
Welcome to day one of Leeward Business Advisors’ 12 Days of Starting a Business.
2)Delayed implementation — or delays in general
Having a team that constantly comes up with great ideas they can quickly build is great. Taking forever to implement those ideas or release new product concepts isn’t great. This gives your competitors a chance to copy you and release it faster. Further, if your employees’ ideas aren’t being listened to, they’ll be less inclined to share the next time.
There should be a process for developing and implementing new ideas. Businesses should work to speed up the timeline of idea to execution.
3)No one is talking about your business
Usually people know about growing businesses. If they don’t know about you, that can be a sure sign your business is either still very young or is on a downward spiral.
Start a blog and create a press release page on your website. Utilize social media to share your news and connect with news outlets. Don’t let your company go unnoticed!
4)No Ownership in Departments/Projects/Tasks
Failure isn’t a bad thing. And if people are consistently blaming other people for their failures, then no one can learn from them.
Encourage employees to take ownership of their projects and enforce the idea that failure means they’re trying something new.
5)Patch work or broken things are the norm
If no one questions the service desk about to having to reboot their computers three times a day and the receptionist is constantly unplugging the WiFi router to restart it, there’s a problem.
Your technology — and your products — should work. If they don’t, you should be working to change that, not settling for not being able to work.
6)No relationships in the work place
If your employees don’t want to see each other, they also don’t want to support each others’ success.
Team retreats might sound cringey — the kind of stuff they make fun of on The Office and Parks and Recreation — but team building is necessary and important. Something less traditional, like an evening of bowling or an afternoon of kickball can be a great way to get people bonding!
7)Your product hasn’t changed
Sometimes consistency is nice, but if your business is still selling the exact same thing it was fifteen years ago, that isn’t favorable. Society and cultures change, as do your customers’ needs.
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Keep your product and service line current and listen to what your customers’ needs are.
8)Your competition doesn’t view you as competition
If your competition doesn’t see you as a valid threat, maybe you aren’t. Your competition should be afraid of you and your potential growth.
Be better than your competition and increase awareness in your community so they can’t help but recognize you.
9)Your customers don’t call you when you mess up
If your customers know you suck and just don’t care, that’s a huge problem.
Build a reliable reputation and show customers your business is there to help them. Be as proactive with issues as possible. If you’re going to be good at one thing, make it communication — talk to your customers when there are issues and explain what is happening and how you will be fixing it.
You might not have a special animal that can predict the future, but you can easily read office warning signs. Just like failures, you should welcome these opportunities for improvement into your culture. If you, as a business leader, are too busy to fix them yourself, use it as an opportunity to give your employees a chance to shape their own environment. Build on success and stop trying things that don’t work.
About Leeward Business Advisors
Leeward Business Advisors is a Wisconsin-based corporation that provides business strategy planning, business improvement implementation, and full IT operational support. They offer world class Cloud Computing services, Cloud brokerage, Managed IT services, and a full US based Support Service Desk (called Quick Answers). Michael Polzin, CEO has 20+ years of enterprise business and technology experience gained while working at Allstate Insurance and Microsoft Corporation. Jason Klein, CTO has 15+ years delivering effective and efficient technology to Midwest companies.