John owned a small laundry and dry-cleaning business and was struggled to keep his head above water. He had no formal training how to run a business. He had managed to build it up slowly over time but it had stagnated over the 2 years before we met. He thought it didn't really have a future. He felt awful about it because he took over from his father and he didn’t want to be seen as a failure.
He didn’t know what to do. I showed him what successful leaders do to build sustainable businesses. Before long he felt like he really wanted to make a go of his business. Only he didn’t know where to start. He couldn’t see the big picture. I took him through a fitness assessment where he got to see how his cleaning business stacked up against world class companies. He could see where his problems were. It was a big surprise to him because he had previously thought his main problem was a lack of customers. Only it wasn’t. It was in the way he handled his suppliers and contractors. He had no idea that he had been fretting about an area of the business that was OK. He hadn’t realised that getting more customers would not have helped him. Bringing in more customers would have made his contractor management problems even worse. Once John could see where the problem was it was easy to fix.
John described that before we got started he felt like he was in his old Holden stuck in second gear. The only thing was he didn’t know it at the time. He said that I had showed him which gear his business was in, and how he could shift up through the gears.
Often, I find leaders are completely unaware of where the biggest barriers to growth lie. Just like John found, perhaps your business is stuck in 2nd gear without you even knowing. Businesses cannot grow to reach their full potential because they have yet to find what is holding them back – their No.1 barrier to growth.
Conduct an assessment across your entire business and you will locate this barrier. Can you be sure that you are working on improving the area that will have the greatest impact on the growth of your business? Perhaps you should carry out an assessment to find out.
Talk to me if you are interested in a fitness assessment for your business.
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Michael posts on topics relating to organisational growth and excellence
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