What You Don’t Know Can Kill You
Business health can be very similar to your personal health. If you are unaware of a low or elevated component in your blood, you probably will not treat it until you are aware of the abnormal readings. In business health, sometimes you must perform an investigation into what is ailing your business to determine the correct prescription for improved performance.
Sometimes, however, our investigations are misled or poorly administered, making it more difficult to prescribe the best solution to correct the problem.
For example, a while back I was speaking with the CEO of a consumer electronics retailer that was doing market research on its customers. This retailer had been performing below expectations with falling per-store sales; it had been unprofitable for two years running. The market research it was performing was based on the opinions of customers that had purchased products from it in the past.
My immediate reaction was, “Why are they doing market research on satisfied customers? If retail sales are falling and profitability is poor or negative, shouldn’t they find out why more customers aren’t buying products from them?”
That, of course, is a harder question for any retailer to answer. But unless you know the answer, you’ll continue to exhibit substandard performance.
How do you find out what business disease you have? It’s not as difficult as you might imagine. Try some of the following ideas:
Have an open mind. Talk about the future of the organization and the possibility of doing some significant strategic planning. Decide if the organization has the capacity to change, or if it wants to remain the same. If you are defensive about your policies, prices, product selection, customer service and so on, you’ll probably continue to get the same results. If you are open to change and improvement, it is there for the asking.