Finances

Stepping Back to Move Forward

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The unfortunate truth about the bottom line is that many business owners are running businesses without a clear and unobstructed eye on the bottom line. They are pulled in so many different directions, faced with so many challenges, that the terms treadmill, rat race, unremitting change, ongoing transition and fast-paced changes in market demands barely describe how owners and executives feel. The day-to- day, week-to-week, and month-to-month issues may keep them running and out of breath mentally and, sometimes, due to stress, physically.

The bottom line in any business or organization is what keeps the doors open to provide service or operate the business, keeps employees paid, maintains quality of service, ensures product is available, and keeps the owner solvent in his or her attempts to run the business. Often the focus is on personally surviving rather than clearly focused on the business; and, sometimes, the focus is on the business at the peril of personally surviving.

How to achieve balance in your life as an owner, executive or manager while ensuring that the business is solvent is one of the greatest challenges anyone at the top faces.

There is a figure being bounced around at the moment of a 70% failure rate when it comes to successful management today. Where does your business stand in this analysis?

The most important ability, thinking clearly and planning with clarity, suffers in the race to survive the day-to-day and keeping the business functionally above water. How does the owner/executive manage to plan for the future in these circumstances?

The challenge is taking time to slow down long enough to get a clear picture of what is happening in the BIG picture – the thousand foot view, the balcony view, the bird’s eye view – whichever term works for you. This is what we are talking about when we talk about stepping back in order to move forward.

Perspective is what you need. How can you achieve this perspective if you don’t slow down?

You need to be able to step back to increase your field of vision, your landscape lens that captures most of the business that is within your area of responsibility. Can you do this alone? Most often not. The adage: Many hands make light work could be rephrased as many minds make successful businesses. An outside perspective is gold. Find a mentor or hire a coach, or find both.

What questions are necessary to answer?

  • What are the trends, the patterns that are happening in the marketplace?
  • Are you staying at the head or at least part of the pack?
  • Where are the operational roadblocks within your organization?
  • What are the production or service problems you can identify?

Without taking time to see the trends and patterns yourself, you are trusting that the business line of site you have at the speed you are moving on a daily basis gives you sufficient knowledge in and outside the business to keep the business on track.

Unfortunately, you can hardly be expected to see the whole picture on your own, no matter how much experience, knowledge, or how much training and professional development you have behind you.

So slowing down and stepping back to get perspective is important to your ability to race to the head of the pack in the industry you serve.

Where do you turn? Your best options are again: To find a mentor, to hire a coach, and to turn to others around you for insight from within the business world, or to those in your field of endeavor. Network in your community – join the Chamber of Commerce, the Rotary, a professional organization; find the people you need to help give you perspective, and outlet for your inevitable frustrations, and to keep you up to date on what is happening in the business world around you.

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