The Great Recession has been a great teacher for many seasoned entrepreneurs. Those who have survived have been the ones willing to truly look at their businesses objectively. And in doing so, they have learned many lessons.
One of the best ways to look at your business objectively is to ask yourself the following question: If you were a Lean Startup, had very few dollars in the bank, and knew what you know today about your business, market, and employees, would you do it all again the same way?
Simply put, you would have learned the lean startup business lessons and be unaffected by poor decisions, failed initiatives, and unmotivated employees.
Please understand, I do not mean to suggest that all of your decisions have been bad, all initiatives have failed or all of your employees are a disappointment. In most cases, it is just one or a few of these things that bog down many businesses. And this causes the business to not perform at its highest level. Such businesses do not have the benefit of operating as if it were a Lean Startup.
What I do suggest is that by looking objectively at your business, as if it were a Lean Startup, the entrepreneur could eliminate many headaches and greatly improve the bottom line.
To get you on the right track toward looking at your business from the perspective of a Lean Startup, consider the following:
- Take a good look at how you communicate with your customers/clients. Do you really need to print all of those reports, invoices, and/or marketing materials? Alternatively, could you securely deliver the information via email or on a private portal inside your company website while you drip marketing information to each of them? Just pretend for a minute that you do not have enough money to communicate and you need to find a way to deliver information, promote your business and save money—all at the same time.
- Write down on a blank piece of paper the name of the employee who gets under your skin. Then ask yourself two questions: (1) Why do you employ Xxxxxxxx?; And (2) What is the most horrible consequence if they did not work for your business anymore?
- Is it necessary for you to go to the office to work efficiently? Another way to ask the question is: If you did not go to the office to work, could you be more efficient?
I hope you answer these questions honestly and feel empowered to make a change. You may just find yourself running a lean and more profitable business!
Learn more about Holly A. Magister, CPA, CFP®, the founder of Enterprise Transitions, LLP, an Emerging Business and Exit Planning firm. She helps entrepreneurs assess, re-align, and accelerate their business with the intent of eventually executing its top-dollar sale.
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Holly also founded ExitPromise.com and to date has answered more than 2,000 questions asked by business owners about starting, growing and selling a business.