As I'm sure you can tell I love to run. I also love business. I honestly feel that running provides insights that can be used for business. These posts obviously use running terms and images but really are speaking about business and I think it works. This week I was hit by a blow to my running that provides a great lesson to small business owners. I'm not sure if I have mentioned it here but I have a bad knee. Not really sure what is wrong with it but I have had a problem since June and have tried to run through it, rest it, add extra support to it and medicate it all to avail. This week the wheels came off. I ran on Tuesday and actually felt pretty good but afterwards I got the point where I couldn't walk up stairs. I had no strength in my left knee and was in a lot of pain. Clearly maintaining the status quo wasn't going to work anymore. My body was telling there was a problem but I wasn't listening. I got away with it for awhile but eventually the messages my body was giving me became to much to ignore (at least to painful to ignore). I needed to change my plans and take proactive steps to address my knee issues if I wanted to keep running.
Does this sound like your business? There comes a time in every businesses life cycle that it is important to listen to the cues that your business is giving you. Ignoring pain in your business is a bad strategy. Changes in your market, with your customers or the economy in general can not be ignored. Typically the problems just won't go away. Here are a few things you can do to keep your business running smooth even in uncertain times. (See what I did there incorporating running into that sentence?)
- Compare budget to actual results. This may seem like a no brainer but it is not uncommon for business owners to be focused on all the tasks of running a business and neglect a review of overall activity.
- Know and study the leading indicators for your business and industry. There are metrics that will show decline before it is to late. By understanding these you can take proactive steps to correct the situation before you can't make payroll due to declining sales.
- Always be improving. If you are always looking for innovative ways to meet your customers' needs instead of just trying to maintain you will more than likely react proactively rather than relatively.
- Get an advisory board. Whether you are an early stage businesses or an established business advisors can be of great help to you. Good advisors bring an outside perspective to your business and often see things you are missing. One point here...advisors are just that, advisors. Solicit and consider their advice but remember you are the boss and have the final say.
Now on to this weekend's business long run. Remember these are articles that I have come across this week that would be good to look at to improve your business. Obviously I am not running this weekend (or so you would think) but I am reading these posts:
This Tool Perfectly Crops Your Cover Photo for Facebook Timeline at Mashable ~ You know you want your Facebook cover photo to look good.
Take our test to find the small business that's right for you ~ the E-Type test at USA Today by Rhonda Abrams ~ Self assessment is a critical part of the business building process. So what E-Type are you?
What Are You Willing to Do to Launch Your Business? at Entrepreneur Magazine ~ Everything takes longer than you think it will take when you are starting a business. This means you need to be prepared to do whatever it takes to make your dreams a reality.
Blogging for Small Businesses – Starting with a Bang at Famous Bloggers ~ Some solid steps to help in starting your business blog.
9 Steps To Success with Your Home Business at Women on Business ~ Working from home? It's pretty easy to get caught up in watching judge shows, Maury and Law and Order re-runs unless you heed this advice.
Be sure to get out and put in your mileage this weekend so you are ready for your business marathon.