A good friend recently told me about major struggles she was having with her company's finances. As she tried to implement changes to prevent her business from bleeding, she encountered more and more difficulties.
But after some honest conversations, careful assessments, and serious introspection, she came to realize that along with the changes she was trying to make, there were four things about her leadership that had been killing her business all along.
The thought of change was scary, and committing to change even scarier. So instead she kept on moving along a path that was continuously draining the life out of her company.
Her solution: Jump into the deep end of the pool, and either sink or swim. "Having no other options turned out to be a rather efficient way to get over being scared," she said.
The information she was using as she tried to make changes was just bad. And it doesn't matter how hard you try, you can't get from Point A to Point B if you're looking at a Waffle House menu instead of a roadmap.
Her solution: Educate herself on what good information even looked like. She started by figuring out what questions she needed answered, and then determined how to structure her financial record keeping and tracking to get those answers quickly and efficiently.
Since she hadn't set out to be a business owner, she had always just assumed that how her financial data was being managed was the right way. Because of that, she wound up not even realizing the lifeblood of her finances were bad.
Her solution: Document the processes that were generating the information she was using, which resulted in a deeper understanding of how the numbers worked together, and how they could be streamlined and improved.
Her first crack at trying to fix her finances left her employees disillusioned, frustrated, and highly unsettled. It also left her on the edge of giving up.
Her solution: Turn to peer support. While she had thoughts of packing it in, an extra push from peers led her to try again, and discover what her real issues were.
After getting these solutions in place, my friend is confident her company will pull through. If your business is on life-support like hers was, it might be time to ask yourself if you've even been looking at the real problems.