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Avoiding The Status Quo Trap

  • March 16, 2022
  • Written by Community Futures Meridian

Avoiding the Status Quo Trap

The two articles in this month’s newsletter work together to help you focus on your company’s growth. As a business owner, you spend most of your time running your business. There is always something to be done, customers to be looked after, staff to be managed, money to be controlled. All of that, of course, is important, but if you are not careful, you will forget that you also have to direct the business. Take your hands off the wheel for too long, and your company is likely to veer off course and potentially crash. In today’s fast-changing world, treading water is a dangerous thing.

Take an hour or so away from your business and ask yourself the following five questions (okay, there are more than five, but each one precipitates a few more things you need to consider). Go for a walk or sit on a bench in the park; find somewhere you know you won’t be disturbed. This exercise isn’t meant to be a long planning session or anything. It’s simply about pausing your busy life to take stock and encouraging your brain to recognize a few things that may be important to your company’s growth.

  1. How do you see your company growing over the next few years? Think big picture. If you do nothing, your business will continue moving along either forward or backward. Businesses rarely preserve the status quo. Going back to our previous analogy, if you do nothing actively to direct your business, it will begin to drift – the question is, in what direction?
  2. Are you still motivated? Does your business excite you as much as it used to when you first started? Do you still have a sense of purpose? Can you see short, mid, and long-term goals? Is your company making an impact, a difference? Are you feeling the passion? If not, why not? What can you do to revive your energy and drive?
  3. What do you need to move forward? Think about what excites you, maybe a new product, a new location, a sales promotion, or hiring someone new to free you up to explore new avenues. What is your biggest frustration? What could you do to free yourself from it and move on?
  4. What could your company do that it isn’t currently doing? Put aside for a moment financial or staffing restrictions or any other excuses such as you simply don’t have time. The critical question here is, is your company living up to its true potential? Once you have identified some of the things your company could be doing that will promote growth and bring back some excitement, ask your employees whether they think the company is living up to expectations. What do they think the company might do? You might be surprised at some of the innovative ideas they have. Only at that point, start to look at the practical issues of making it happen. You will be surprised how challenges can be overcome when there is enough energy in the room.
  5. Hopefully, you are still sitting on your bench or strolling through a park, or sitting in a sauna. Now, think about your role in the business. What do you do every day? Are you good at it? Are you making the best use of your strengths and skills? Even more important, do you enjoy your role in the business? If not, you are handcuffing yourself and your company. Consider reorganizing your company, so you can do more of what you are good at and what you enjoy. Passion is a driving force in a business. When work is drudgery, not a lot of good happens.

Imagination is a powerful force. If you imagine it, it can happen. If you don’t bother to think about the future, you will be at the mercy of the winds of change. And, they can be scary.

The following article will provide tips on reaching any goals you may have set after your pause to take stock of your company.

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