As business managers, it’s hard to resist the temptation to try and be the omnipotent master of our environment, controlling the ebb and flow of everything we see: competitors, technology, legislation, industry trends, consumer preferences, seasonality … the list goes on.
Perhaps it’s a reflection of where society and technology are at. Are we slowly being hardwired into a state of hyper-activity where we demand instant gratification? How do we react when we can’t control everything?
Here’s the secret that a lot of entrepreneurs and managers are hesitant to admit: We can’t control everything that happens to our business (or in it). Go ahead, say it out loud – it feels good.
Relinquishing the desire for control of everything can be very liberating for a business owner or manager. All of a sudden, some of the things that have kept you up at night will magically melt away, and you will find yourself with more free time and resources to channel into the things you can control.
Part of my success at Mould Removal has come from shifting our strategy to align with what we know we can work to improve (and where we have some control). Our operations in the Hunter were going well, but I had definitely noticed an increase in competition and it was clear that I had to take action to ensure the long-term success of the business
Let’s think big picture and consider profitability for a minute (it’s always in the back of our minds anyway, right?)
The key factors affecting profitability tend to be:
- How much you charge (read: how much consumers are willing to pay)
- Cost to produce/deliver your offering (fixed & variable costs)
- Level of output/productivity
- Competitive environment & marketing
As a small business owner or manager, you are probably already breaking down these factors into sub-elements and viewing them through the lens of your own business.
How many do you estimate that you confidently and regularly exert influence over?
For Mould Removal, we identified our internal processes as an area that we could tighten up to improve performance. We had the ability to change the way we carried out our service, and we significantly reduced the time it took carry out our service for a typical customer.
The flow-on effect has been fantastic: we have strengthened our competitive position, created a clear point of difference for our marketing and now we can service more customers in a shorter timeframe.
This is a testament to the power of focusing on what you can control and leveraging this to the full extent.
Next time you get the urge to launch into half a dozen initiatives at once to boost your business performance, remember that being busy doesn’t necessarily equate to success!