Are you killing your business? Mistake Four

MISTAKE 4 – You Haven’t Got Anyone To Bounce Ideas Off

Many new businesses are too small to have a proper Board or even a Non Executive Director. Some issues are not appropriate to talk to staff about (for example exit planning or the poor performance of a member of staff) and often partners and friends just don’t “get it”,  and advisors may have only a narrow focus or worse still have their own agenda. So business owners can end up in a silo on their own.

This can be very damaging. Talking things though with others is important as it may yield new perspectives. Just as valuable are the situations where people endorse your view reassuring you that you are on the right track. Likewise if the reactions and advice are mixed then perhaps it’s an indication that there’s more work to be done to understand the issue.

For example; I’m naturally a very optimistic person and in many situations it’s a great strength: I have had great results overcoming major challenges ranging from a recovery after a factory fire through to managing tight cashflow situations.  However, at other times it’s been a weakness as it’s meant I’ve missed things. For instance, overly focusing on the opportunities, I got involved far too hastily with one company five years ago and ended up having to put it into liquidation. 

So personally I now check out ideas with other contacts I have who, to my optimistic way of thinking, are “negative”; they will see things I would overlook or dismiss.

This process brings out its own challenges, such as keeping an open mind whilst hearing things one doesn’t want to, and being able to communicate with people with different values. But it will make you and your business stronger.

About Hilary Briggs

A management consultant with over 15 years of industrial experience having held senior management positions at Rover Group, Whirlpool Corporation and The Laird Group plc. For the last 10 years, she’s worked with SME’s to improve their performance. Hilary is Managing Director of productivity specialists R2P Ltd.