Are You Killing Your Business? Mistake Seven

MISTAKE 7 – Staying in the comfort zone

It’s easy to stick with people you know and understand – but there’s one downside; who’s challenging you and testing your thinking?

As we view the world through our own sets of values and beliefs, it means we are more vulnerable to missing things which might be very obvious to others with a different background or experience. For instance, ever used a cooker or gadget which seemed like the designer had never actually used the product in everyday life?  (I think companies are much better at this now but sometimes corners get cut as time and resources get squeezed.)

Whilst it may be uncomfortable to step outside your usual zone, it’s better than experiencing the discomfort of a major problem in the business because no one around you had the courage to say “hang on a minute – what about X?”’

Innovation comes from picking up ideas from outside the conventional thinking. Mixing with others will increase your chances of doing this. The more diverse your contacts (whether by sectors/age/ethnic group/gender), the more you’ll also be able to “narrow the angles” on potential incoming problems; someone in your group will have had experience of issues that you haven’t – better to learn from others’ mistakes than get extra battle scars yourself!

So ask yourself – what hobbies could you take up that could expand your network? How could you benefit from better use of your contacts through family, friends or existing activities? Some people like to keep work and private life completely separate – however I’m suggesting using them more as an intelligence source.  Be interested in their perspectives on the world; what are they noticing, what impact might that have on you and your business? How would they deal with your challenges? What alternative approaches could you generate?

By avoiding, at least to some degree, these seven common mistakes (featured over the last seven weeks) your business has a far greater chance of not just surviving but thriving!

Take a look at each of these areas and ask yourself some tough questions, and be honest! Your answers and the resulting actions you take could make all the difference to your future wealth and happiness.

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.