Every business, be it a start-up or established has a “first problem” to solve. The “first problem” is the one that will take you towards your “real goal” and it is also the most difficult one to tackle. What is the “real goal” and how do you find out what it is? Most businesses have multiple goals unfortunately: they are not well defined. A goal has to be specific as to what the end result looks like. Once a specific list is created comes the selection process to determine the validity of the goals and the selection of the most important.
Let me use my business as an example. My first problem is to create a service offering and sell it. By identifying this first problem I can easily lose my way by focusing on easy to do “side problems”. For example, I can work on my logo; that should take me several weeks. Then there is my web page, and then business cards and then…………….. “Side problems” are more fun to tackle and allow me to avoid the hard, first problem, of creating my service offering and selling it.
Most small business owners find the selling of their product/service the most difficult part of growing a business. They find countless things to fill their time that don’t address the real issue at hand.
With a failure rate of over 80% in start-up businesses, I find the main reason for this high failure rate is a lack of not identifying and working to solve the first problem first.
Once a target market is identified then bite the bullet and take the necessary steps to put yourself, in person, in front of the target. Don’t rely on a web page, or a sign on your building to bring in business. Social media will eventually help but your story, told in person, is the foundation necessary to build a profitable and sustainable business. Taking personal action is the key.
A lack of cash flow results in the demise of most small businesses. The question that has to be asked every day, all day long, “Is what I am doing now going to result in solving my first problem?” (in this example, generating cash now). If doesn’t, don’t do it.
Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action.
Benjamin Disraeli, former British Prime Minister
Nick J. Petra CFP
My passion is to help small businesses take the right action towards profitability through affordable and relevant support and accountability.