A void; an empty space, rendered invalid…
What do I mean about falling into the void from a business perspective?
Well, what I mean is that when people do business they will from time to time lose sight of what their customer actually wants to buy, what the quality standard is and should be, what the level of safety performance is and should be. What I find frustrating is that when businesses, often good businesses in the first place (and can be again if brought back on point) lose sight of their goal.
And you know what? A business has but one goal, and that goal is make a profit.
It’s a simple idea but fundamentally it’s huge. This is what business does, it makes money for doing what it does. It does a whole lot more things once it’s got the money, but it has to make the money in the first place.
Okay so here’s the thing, the void is the place your business falls into when it loses sight of its customers and starts paying attention to its own hype or worse still it starts to not care. It starts to cut corners, take the short cuts, reduce expectations.
Customer demands (expectations & needs) not met inevitably means that customers will drift away, they find another business partner, one who cares enough to listen and provide what they need.
So this leads to expenditure (investment) being reduced, spending cut, staff numbers cut, training cut…
That’s the void that is sooooooooo hard to get out of.
You may find yourself & your business there one day, you wake up, you realise you’re in the void, deep in the void. How did this happen? When did it happen?
It’s not possible for me to answer those questions but what I can tell you is that it was a process, a long (in most cases) process, but it was a process, no question about it. It took everyone to look the other way, ignore the little short cuts being taken, and ignore the right way of doing things. Oh yeah, the customer probably didn’t know or realise right away, and if it’d stopped then and there the customer may never have noticed, but it didn’t stop and the customer did notice.
Right so now you know where you are, you’re in the void, possibly someplace close to the bottom but it’s dark and you just can’t tell exactly. I can tell you right here that it’s a really long way back out. You’re going to spend money, time and plenty of personal effort to get back out. And at first it’s going to feel like nothing is happening, there’s no pay-off, you’re just not moving. This is natural.
It’s as if you’ve steered an oil tanker into a corner and now you’re trying to turn it in the opposite direction, to get out, to avoid the crash, to avoid sinking the ship. This is hard, very hard.
The challenge is to keep putting the effort in, keep turning up and doing the work without giving up on your great business.
And… if you work hard enough, inspire enough, start to do the turnaround soon enough you’ll save your business.
Thanks for reading.