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There’s an elephant in the room, do you see it?

Take a look over your shoulder. Do you see the elephant in the room?

An ‘elephant in the room’ is a metaphor for living with a huge issue and either you see the elephant but do nothing to get rid of it or you don’t even see it despite it being hard to miss. In your business it is an obvious problem or risk that no one wants to address or discuss. Instead, you pretend it is not there and occupy your time with other issues rather than deal with the looming big one.

Here’s a two common elephants that might be lingering in the room:

  • Losing customers

Do you know the reasons why clients decide to stop doing business with you? There is always one common reason and the benefit of this is you can identify the problem. Statistics show that the majority of the business we lose is because clients are unhappy with how they were treated when doing business with us.

Losing customers is an elephant in the room because most small business owners know this situation exists, and many would even know why. However, because it can be hard to work with some people and it is much easier to focus on other areas of the business, we tend to ignore the big fat elephant that is sitting in the corner.

You may also be guilty of a common business sin. Many businesses value new customer acquisition more highly than looking after your existing clients because it is more exciting and seems like a bigger opportunity. However, your existing clients not only bring money in to your business, there is the opportunity for repeat business, referrals and up-selling.

It pays to look this elephant in the eye and address it.

  • Poor morale

A client was telling me about an elephant in the room of his workplace where his boss was causing everyone to walk on eggshells with his bad temper and constant irritability. This was causing mistakes to happen, poor morale, and increased sick days as people started to dread going to work.

Rather than doing something about the situation, they denied the elephant in the room by saying things like, “It’s okay. He always yells like that. It’s no big deal. That’s just the way it is.” This just makes the elephant bigger at the expense of staff and the business.

As a business owner, if your staff morale is low make it a priority to address.

Do you know of any other common elephants that a small business might have in the room? Have you successfully addressed an elephant in the room before?

What do you think?

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Rick Mapperson

Rick Mapperson

Rick Mapperson is the founder and managing director of Rick Mapperson and Associates ( http://sydneyinsurancebroker.com.au/), a personal insurance brokerage. Rick has been insuring people, particularly small business owners, for twenty years. Rick combines his skills as a licensed Financial Planner and his understanding as the co-founder of an Australian charity focused on families, to understand the best interests of his clients. You can follow Rick on twitter @RickMapperson

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