You likely know of businesses in your community that have a great product or service and yet could not survive. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, 20% of small businesses in the United States fail in their first year. It gets progressively worse in the subsequent years, but why? Too often, failing businesses use a blueprint for failure:
Absence of a Planning Culture
You’ve heard it over and over again – find time to work on your business rather than in your business. Sounds easy, but we know that this is a real challenge. Your business decides when and how it will or will not grow despite what you do when the business operates ad hoc. Think the “tail wagging the dog.” Planning ensures we are intentional about the future as well as how we operate in the present.
Unstructured Communication and Execution Rhythm
Is the team aligned and “in the know?” Likely not unless there is a structured rhythm of communication that ensures effective execution. When you’re communicating on your strategic direction and the related work routinely, issues are surfaced and resolved more quickly, the velocity of work itself increases, and the probability of success increases. Without structured and routine communications on the right things, failure is certain.
Relying on the Usual Suspects
Relying on those that hold a title rather than those that are the best fit for the work is a critical component of the blueprint for failure. Too often, especially in early stage companies, the business is organized with too many managers and not enough “doers” resulting in a fatal lack of execution capacity.
Refusal to Focus on the Vital Few
The shotgun approach – working on everything rather than just the right things. Too many spinning plates is a step on the blueprint for failure. What to do? Trim your strategic initiatives or operational priorities to the vital few. Focus is the key.
No Actionable Strategic or Operational Plan
Thinking about the business and talking about the business isn’t a plan. Running the business day to day isn’t a plan. Cashing checks and paying bills as they come in isn’t a plan. Correct this by being intentional in every aspect of your business. Set objectives, determine how you will measure your progress, and deconstruct your objectives into actionable work. Do any of these characteristics sound familiar? Could this be a description of your business? Change is possible. Contact ClearPath Strategic today.