As with most morning, I found myself sitting at my laptop at 6.30am with a cup of coffee in hand reading through all my emails and the various posts on social media sites. Nothing new there in itself, however today one conversation stood out form the rest and caught my eye. Now, everyone that knows me will tell you that I am a little too opinionated for my own good and that my internal filters are normally set to the off position, which means that I will definitely call that ‘spade and spade‘ when it needs to be told !.... and today was that day.
In summary, the conversation started with a plea for help from someone that was running a small business which was in trouble and in his opinion was going to fail by the end of the week. On top of this he had debts coming out of his ears, suppliers banging on the door for payment and no work coming in – Basically a Dead Dog of a company.
And this is where the so called ‘help’ started – message after message suggesting getting loan’s, applying for credit, borrowing from friends and family to raise cash. This was followed by even more comments about taking on any old job that came along to keep the money mill turning and the final straw that broke this camel’s back was the comments about ploughing more money back into the failing business to basically spend his way out of debt. By now, my internal monologue was having trouble keeping up with the arguments I was having in my head and what was worse was my coffee was now stone cold !!
Why had this one string of abstract messages of encouragement upset me so much, they were written with the best intentions and meant to spur this poor guy on to continue to try and succeed in the face of defeat. What made me think that I could do any better ?
What had really struck home was that we all now have this ability to become an expert within a blink of an eye without having any responsibility for the outcome that comes from what we say. I would doubt that anyone in this conversation knew the author, knew his abilities or come to that did they even know his last name ??.
Throughout the thread there were no questions about how he had gotten to this point, no queries about if he understand where he had gone wrong and absolutely no thoughts about how he was going to clear his present debts.
This made me think about my business and if I could answer these same questions so I sitting back in my chair, a fresh brew in hand thankfully, I ran through the questions that I think every business owner should have asked themselves when they started on this road.
· Do I have a plan that sets out what I want to do and is this plan strong enough to keep me honest to the business?
· What finances do I have right now?
· What are my strengths and weaknesses?
· How do I fill the gaps of my weaknesses?
· What am I truly willing to risk to make this succeed?
· Can I be honest enough with myself to see failures?
· Am I willing and able to change direction?
For me this is the main building blocks for a successful business and if you can answers these questions and still want to continue then you should be on the right road, however once you start the journey you really do have to revisit these questions on a regular basis and get the same results.
And that was that, having set the worlds to rights for another day I was able to get on with my day knowing that everything in the world is good again …….