Businesses occasionally grow into mediocrity after the initial “start-up” surge has disappeared. I have seen this mediocrity stage in the life of a business last for many years. The tattletale signs are many; I find evidence of this when I first walk into a business. Whether it’s the business owner or a staff person that makes the first contact, the greeting lacks both enthusiasm and sincerity.
Unfortunately it isn’t a disease that attaches itself to a certain size business; it attacks the small, medium and large businesses. This small, seemingly insignificant happening manifests itself throughout the business life cycle. Business plans are not completed, goals are not met, operational systems are not maintained and the overall efficiency of the business is either status quo or declining.
Personal accountability only works if you believe in and care about your business. There is no easy cure for this “business sickness”; it has to start with an internal desire to find a cure. We often look at ourselves through rose colored glasses and don’t see our own faults.
A start to finding a cure is the following exercise that I ask my clients to complete. I ask them to spend part of a day calling on ten random businesses ( five with pre-set appointments and five cold calls)and to grade them on the following points:
- Five with pre-set appointments:
- How difficult was it to set an appointment with the owner?
- How many times were you refused an appointment?
- What reason did you give for wanting to meet with the owner?
- How were you greeted upon your arrival?
- What did you learn?
- Five cold calls:
- How were you greeted upon arrival?
- Were you able to spend time with an owner?
- What reason did you give for the visit?
- What did you learn?
Our debriefing session is one of the best exercises that I share with a business owner. In most cases the lessons learned are reflections that occur in their own business. The mediocrity illness that exists in their own business is brought to the forefront and there is a new appreciation for the care and love a company needs to be successful.
Your challenge is to complete this exercise in the next two weeks. This medicine will help make your business better.
Care about your business so that your clients will care about you. Nick J. Petra CFP