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Business Strategy Are You In Control or Out of Control?

Being busy doesn’t necessarily mean making money. Are you spending enough time ON your business? If not, you’re likely “Out of Control”.

In our business lives, as well as our personal lives, when we start speaking about work we often get to the same question. This question is so natural that it ranks up there with asking people “how they’re doing” or “how’s the weather”. It’s the answer to this business question that really sets the tone for the balance of the conversation. The question is “How’s business?” I want to explore one of the many answers that I get because it’s of great concern! The answer is “I’m very busy!”

Normally with this type of answer, people would move on to discuss many more interesting things like concerts and restaurants that they’ve recently attended, or even debate about their favourite sports team. For me sports are of interest, but I always like to ask follow-up questions. “Are you profitable being busy?” What comes out next really makes a difference as to where this conversation leads. The two answers that really get me going are “I don’t know” or “I think so”. These answers cause me to hit the brakes mid-conversation, like an emergency stop to avoid hitting a pedestrian. These answers clearly indicate that something is out of control and needs to be addressed. The next obvious questions are then “Why don’t you know?” or “How are you still in business?” The latter question is rarely used but it’s obvious. Not knowing if your busy activity is generating a bottom line that keeps you in business, is really indicating that you are out of control and not in control.

When asked the follow up questions there are usually two reasons why they don’t know. The first is usually that they are so busy in their businesses or personal lives that they are not monitoring their businesses properly. This is like trying to get from point A to point B, in your car, going at a high rate of speed with a blackened out windshield. Nothing good will come of this. The potential of having a serious accident is just a matter of time. In the book “E-Myth by Michael Gerber”, it states something to the effect that if you only work in your business and not on your business, then you won’t know where your business is going. By being busy exclusively working in your business, and not setting aside time to work on your business, you will quickly find yourself out of control.

The second reason people usually don’t know if they’re making an impact on the bottom line is because they assume that being busy means they’re making money. They later find out that they aren’t, which is typically when it’s already too late or almost too late. This happens more often than you think, as I’ve encountered this situation with many companies. People who run multi-million dollar businesses disappear overnight because they believed that when they were busy they were generating a positive bottom line. They were not in control. Being in control in this case is to monitor the bottom line—even if your business is very busy. This is very critical.

I know this sounds very simple, but as you read this blog you’d be surprised how many businesses are in this exact situation. Like the car analogy, people only seem to wake up when they crash and by then it’s too late. Being busy and not monitoring the bottom line is a disaster waiting to happen. Be aware.

Please send me your thoughts.