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The transformation formula for an ailing business

I’m often asked for my top tips for frustrated business owners who are just about to throw in the towel. No matter what the business is…. everyone has the same frustrations – it’s always about being exhausted with no time, having no team or a dysfunctional one, and seeing no profit. But did you know that turning your business around starts with you?

I can give you every strategy or formula that I know works, but if you haven’t truly committed to making a change then they won’t help you. It’s as simple as that. There’s a formula that will help you discover what it takes to make this leap. It’s called the Formula for Transformation:

(Frustrations × Desired outcomes) + Clarity > Resistance to transform

Identifying your frustrations will start to bring clarity.  Then you can shape your desired outcomes for your business and life. Let’s look at the left side of the above equation first. I’m quite certain you are feeling a sense of frustration and dissatisfaction with where you are right now in your business – and that’s okay! Without that frustration you’d just sit around, watching TV and eating popcorn while your business evaporates. That frustration means you don’t want to sit idly by while your business implodes and that’s what will drive you to change.

In my many years working with small business I have found that there are generally five key frustrations that contribute to dissatisfaction with the business. I’d bet that they keep reappearing time and again. They are common problems that can send businesses to the wall. You may recognise some of them:

◆ cashflow problems

◆ being lonely and scared

◆ having a dysfunctional team

◆ being exhausted, stressed and having no time

◆ procrastination

Let’s look at each of these in turn.

1. Cashflow: People often run out of money before they run out of ideas. Cashflow is not just about how much you are earning, it is also about managing when that cash comes in and goes out, so that you always have dollars in the bank when bills are due.

2. Being lonely and scared. Running a small business can be daunting and lonely. Even if you manage a business with staff it’s easy to feel isolated, alone and responsible for the success or failure of the company. Small business owners also often feel that they are burdening their families if they bring their stress home, further adding to the sense of isolation. Business owners often say to me, ‘I can’t keep going home every day and telling my partner about problems at work’.

3. Having a dysfunctional team. A dysfunctional team usually starts with the owner. If you haven’t taken the proper care or don’t know how to hire the right staff you are in trouble from day one. The right people will power you to success; the wrong people will put the brakes on your business.

4. Being exhausted, stressed and having no time. People often go into business for themselves because they think it will enhance their lifestyle and improve their work/life harmony, and it certainly will – if you get it right. But if your business hits problems it will have the exact opposite effect – I’ve lost count of the number of small business owners I meet who say, ‘I didn’t think it would be like this – I’m still at the office at 9 o’clock at night and I go in on weekends. How did this happen?’ That’s often the point at which they come to me. People’s first response to trouble is usually simply to work harder, rather than stopping and having a good hard look at what is causing the problems. Not only is being tired and stressed not a lot of fun, it also leads to poor decision-making, which only adds to the problems.

5. Procrastination. This is the biggest single issue to overcome – no matter what else you have figured out about your business: if you don’t get off your backside and start to make changes things are only going to get worse. I guarantee it. The inability to make a decision can be caused by paralysis by analysis. Or maybe you don’t know what you don’t know. Or maybe it’s the fear of success. Whatever it is holding you back, you must identify and overcome it.

Remember, your business grows just a little bit or dies just a little bit every single day.  Sometimes we have to take two steps backwards to go four steps forward.

About the Author:

Stefan Kazakis is a renowned business strategist, sought-after presenter and founder of Business Benchmark Group, which helps clients from a variety of crossroads and industries seize opportunities to achieve ongoing business success and growth. Stefan is also the author of From Deadwood to Diamonds (Major Street Publishing, $29.95). For more information please visit www.businessbenchmarkgroup.com.au or email info@businessbenchmarkgroup.com.au

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