Lake Tear of the Clouds: a “lake”, sitting at the shoulder of Mount Marcy high in New York’s Adirondack wilderness. Take a look at that photo. It’s hardly a lake, and more of a very small pond. Yet, it is the the headwaters of the mighty Hudson River, the 315 mile river that helped create a nation and discharges up to 215,000 cubic feet of water per second into the Atlantic Ocean.
How is that possible that a tiny pond can turn into an unstoppable river? As the pond outlet flows, runoff from the surrounding mountains joins in the valley, and begins to grow the volume and speed. A pond’s outlet turns into a flow, then a stream, then a small river, then a massive river that is three and a half miles wide at its widest point.
Amazing things can come from small beginnings.
But what if your small beginning hits a high dam?
If you’re an entrepreneur, chances are you are no stranger to small beginnings. Or high dams.
I’ve been there. Small beginnings, aka a ‘start-up business’, is exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. While my clients are never start ups, I’ve been one four times. For years I would hang with them every week, by helping to organize our regional 1 Million Cups chapter. And I love to see them in action, as an advisory board member of the New York State Small Business Development Center. Newly minted entrepreneurs put their heart and soul on the line, often risking all they have to start something new to the world. It’s an exciting thing to be able to create a new business, do and build just about everything, and live by the seat of your pants. And in some cases, it grows into something valuable.
But at some point, almost every business hits a point where it’s a little less exciting: sales grinds to a trickle, the staff starts complaining about being overworked and underpaid, the vision is lost, and the company stagnates. Even if revenues are great, things can get out of control, and every new day guarantees five fresh – or growing – problems to deal with.
I remember the feeling of dread coming to my own office. But that’s for another post.
“About half of all new establishments survive five years or more and only about one-third survive 10 years or more. ”
– Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, BED
It’s interesting that they used the word “survive“.
Are you a leader in a business, and do you describe your business like this?
Get your business flowing again
While every business hits a dam, there’s a way to break through and grow again. The answer? Implement a system.
Use a system.
Not just any system or a home-grown Frankenstein of a system, but a proven system that: will help your leadership create and get 100% behind a vision that is clear and can be followed by everyone in the organization; will create a culture where everyone is the right person, doing the right job; will define simple predictive metrics to help each person row in the same direction, and that each person is accountable to them; will help create simple easy to follow processes for every facet of the organization, without clutter and complexity or having to spend a lot of effort; and will allow leadership teams on every level to identify, discuss and solve issues on a weekly, quarterly and yearly basis – so that problems go away once and for all and short and long term goals are met.
Are there such systems? Yep, several. I help companies implement a proven system called EOS (short for the Entrepreneurial Operating System®). It’s simple, practical, and it really works. I ought to know: it’s the system that got my company out of the red, and got me happy again. Learn more about EOS here.
Use the tools.
Growing up, my father always taught me to use the right tool for the right job. Your business is no different. Use a few straightforward tools for each part of the business process, so that your team can work at their full capacity and potential. Contact me to learn about getting access to EOS tools, free.
Get moving again.
Will you expect improved results if nothing changes at your organization? Get rid of the uncertainty and get the business flowing towards your goals again. Talk with me about the process of moving your business forward.