19 Aug 2010

How to Combat Growing Business Complexity

Small business owners and entrepreneurs continually have to battle against the economy, competition, government interference, employee issues, cash flow, changing technologies, surprises, busyness, denial, distractions, and a host of other challenges.  Such COMPLEXITY is simply the “price of admission” for being a successful entrepreneur. While business ownership and management, done right, can give you tremendous freedom, flexibility, fulfillment and financial success, it can come with its share of chaos, confusion and complexity. As an owner, if you don’t learn to manage such complexity, it will crush you and your business.

As your personal Growth Coach, I urge you to please don’t become overwhelmed by all the above issues. In fact, having these issues is NOT the real problem for you.  The real problem is that most business owners, maybe you as well, DO NOT know how to think about and tackle these issues … that’s the real problem. You have no simple framework to identify and address your challenges on a regular and logical basis…and then they mount up.  Again, it’s not your problems and opportunities that overwhelm you…it’s probably that you don’t have an effective and consistent method to go about tackling your problems and seizing your opportunities. Agreed?

Entrepreneurs tend to lack a timely and structured process to think about and resolve their problems and seize their opportunities. They are so “busy being busy” and have so much junk in their heads and stuff on their plates at any given time that they can’t even think.  Instead, they get overwhelmed, stressed out and very often go into a state of denial. Denial is a bad, bad place to go.  That’s how neglected issues fester and become raging and serious problems.  Denial is NOT an effective problem-fighting strategy. Stop kidding yourself.

As your virtual business coach, I’m going to ask you to slow down, catch your breath, face reality, and have you realize that all your issues/challenges are NOT created equally.  In fact, not all problems should get equal weight, attention, action, and your emotional energy.  You need to learn to discriminate.  Like your goals, you must put your issues and problems in the proper perspective and prioritize them.  As your Growth Coach, I want to help you more effectively own and run your business and combat the growing fog of complexity. Ready for some business coaching?

Here’s a simple but effective framework for you to identify, prioritize, and tackle all the issues you face. I would like to re-introduce you to an old friend, the business planning model known as SWOT Analysis.  SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Relax … I’m not going to ask you to draft a new business plan.  Instead, I want you to use a form of SWOT to respond better to your daily business issues, challenges, and opportunities.  As your business coach, I beg you to stop reacting to your daily challenges and going into denial or hyper mode.  It does you, your employees and your business NO GOOD.  Use this re-purposed SWOT tool to help you respond calmly, coolly, and effectively to your daily problems and opportunities.

But before you use this new application for SWOT, you need to: (1) Face the truth about where your business is right now (good, bad and ugly – what’s working and what’s not), (2) Gain clarity about where you want your business to be in one year and three years (paint that ideal future), and (3) Commit to close the performance gap between your current reality and your desired future with an action plan you continually update.  By the way, I just described a key component of The Growth Coach strategic-focusing, year-round process.

This new application of SWOT below will help you prioritize your challenges and improve the way you go about closing your performance gap, the gap between where you are now and where you want to be. In brief, you should look at how to leverage your strengths, neutralize weaknesses, seize the best opportunities, and eliminate the greatest threats/dangers. Again, not all your problems and opportunities are worth your time, talent and treasure.  Choose wisely.  Here are a series of questions to help you get your arms around and prioritize your issues and opportunities using the simple SWOT framework:

STRENGTHS (assets):

  • What are your personal and company strengths, unique talents, and money-making assets?
  • Which are the most-promising strengths (personal and corporate) to pursue now?
  • How can you effectively leverage, replicate, maximize and multiply these most-promising strengths?

WEAKNESSES (liabilities):
[Do not spend too much time or energy working on your personal weaknesses as they simply become strong weaknesses]

  • What are your personal and company weaknesses and liabilities?
  • How can you effectively neutralize, delegate or outsource these weaknesses?

OPPORTUNITIES (desire for gain):

  • What are the money-making opportunities you have right now, right at hand?
  • Which are the most promising opportunities with the greatest return potential?
  • How can you go about effectively seizing these opportunities?

THREATS/DANGERS (fear of loss):

  • What are the greatest threats/dangers facing you and your business right now?
  • How can you effectively eliminate or minimize these biggest threats/dangers?

So, whenever you are confronted with too many issues, problems and/or opportunities, be sure to STOP, THINK, and perform a quick SWOT review.  You now have a simple SWOT process and framework to help you think about and tackle your critical issues and opportunities.  If you regularly use this approach, at least once a month, you will be able to more effectively manage your business and combat your complexity.

Talk with a business coach about how to reduce complexity in your business.

Business coaching services helped this client grow profitably!

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