By Rhonda Campbell
Dead things don’t move. Dead things, all by themselves, don’t change. You don’t have to fear any fluctuations with dead things. In fact, you can predict with accuracy where and how dead things will be every second, minute and day. However, because life is an immeasurably strong force, a moving force, it (life) changes dead things.
Small Businesses That Don’t Change are Dead
Observe a corpse for any length of time, and you’ll start to see changes. It’s simple. Life is impacting and altering what’s deemed to be dead. It does it all the time. Nothing can stop life, it’s ever moving force. Flowers grow and bloom in graveyards the same as they grow and bloom across hillsides, around mansions, in forests and in valleys. Life even causes some flowers to spring up and grow through the hardness of concrete.
Life’s always moving, you see, changing things. What’s amazing is how as an entrepreneur you insist that your small business, marketing tools you use to connect with consumers, customer behaviors, etc. not change. You don’t want to see your customer sales lower, alerting you to the fact that it might be time to change your product line, the way you market your products, how you connect with consumers, etc. You also don’t want to see your customer sales increase too drastically for fear that you’ll run out of products, relocate to a larger office building, won’t be able to meet shipping demands or might find your life moving at a pace that doesn’t feel comfortable to you.
Why Do You Insist on Managing a Dead Business
But that’s not all. You also don’t want to see top employees exit your company, nor do you want to have to spend money to train newly hired workers. Once you find good business partners, you want them to stick with you forever. You feel betrayed when customers take their business elsewhere. It’s almost as if you want to manage a dead business.
As an entrepreneur, you curse slow periods, finding it hard to discover new ways to fill up your days. Reviewing your marketing strategy, pricing, product line, packaging, community involvement, business focus, etc. never crosses your mind during slow periods. In fact, you spend days during slow periods cursing, begging for things to go back the way they used to be, and generally bemoaning your situation.
There’s a Great Teacher Outside Your Window
Oh, if you’d stop managing a dead small business. You’d see opportunities to reassess, restructure and grow. When you consider how long the oldest trees (e.g. Jardine Junipers, Basin Bristle-cone pine) have been on the earth, some for thousands of years, one has to wonder if trees, their long limbs curving and pointing up toward the sky or downward, toward the ground, know something many humans don’t.
Trees know how to weather brutal storms. They know how to survive scorching heat, painstaking dryness and floods. Trees know how to thrive amid change. They don’t demand that the earth go back the way it was more than 4,000 years ago when they first sprang up.
Perhaps it’s a reason trees don’t die easily.
Your small business was meant to thrive. Learn to take advantage of each cycle and period your business experiences. You might even have to completely restructure your company and focus on different business goals the way IBM did at the turn of the century. Or you might decide to sell off parts of your company, perhaps choosing to venture into totally different enterprises.
Whatever you do – to enjoy the rewards of a successful entrepreneur – commit to falling out of love with managing a dead small business. Expect and celebrate shifts and changes, both internal and external, impacting your company. Lead and manage with wisdom and insight, and remember that a business with life in it is going to move, shift, alter, experience strong sales periods as well as slow sales periods, challenging you to think differently, to . . . change.
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