How To Change The Tires While The Car Is Moving
A Guide To Fixing The Big Issues in Your Small Business
In life and in business, how easy is it to get distracted and fail to fix the most important issues at hand, especially as a small business owner? Days quickly turn into weeks, months, and years – before you know it, you wonder how the heck did we get here?
Small 2nd generational businesses in particular really struggle to make or find the time to improve because it is common for the visionary and leaders to be extremely caught up in the tactical day-to-day noise of the business. By the time the business owner(s) make the sale, put out another fire, save a client who is pissed, fix a complicated issue there is “no time” to fix core issues. When companies are scaled there are simply more resources available, but what do you do when you are a smaller 20 or so person company but need to make critical decisions that impact the company for years?
Identifying Your Weaknesses
In 2013, we were struggling, lacking focus, and offering too many products and services. Our core competency was offering voice-related products and services, but we added IT services, wiring low voltage cabling solutions, and security camera products to the same customer. This caused a lot of internal issues because we did not have the depth of knowledge, resources, or know-how to do them all well. We were very distracted, spread thin – working harder (not smarter) and generating less profit as a result.
Turning Weakness Into Strength
In our case, there was too much on our plate each day to effectively organize a plan for success. We ended up finding an internal operating system called EOS which stands for Entrepreneurial Operating System. There are other products in the market, but we found it fit well with our size company and how we did things. There are a lot of moving parts within EOS, but I find the one I enjoy the most is quarterly planning.
In short, a quarterly meeting is typically a full day out of the office, out of the day-to-day noise, to work on higher-level strategic challenges to focus on and discuss the most important parts of the business to fix. You may have heard of the term “Big Rocks”, which is best outlined in this Youtube video by Stephen Covey. Our quarterly meetings take care of our Big Rocks – we work on what is essential for the business first, then allow space for everyday projects and crises to come up. Find what works for your company, and take the time to fix the big issues that have been holding you back. Your profits (and stress levels) will thank you.
Fix Your Small Business Without Hitting The Breaks
When you run a small generational company, you have to change the tires while the car is moving. It is difficult and there is never a perfect time to do it. There is always a client issue, an opportunity, an internal personnel decision, or something that will come up. We found taking the time 1x per quarter really helps us stay focused in a very distracted world. Establishing a way for your business to fix and maintain priorities will ensure your success in the long run.