Sunday, June 13, 2010

Roundtables4Roundtables Part III

One of the obvious facts from my couple days in NY with other mastermind group organizations was that the issues members face in every case are very similar. One might be tempted to think that doctors and dentists have it easy. They charge high fees and drive fast cars. But they still have to deal with the one common wildcard – PEOPLE. I have said a few thousand times before that if I didn’t have to deal with people my job would be perfect. That's not really the case but some days it sure feels like a good option. I wouldn’t really have a job any more, but somehow all the pain points would have vanished and boredom would have set in. PEOPLE are part of our current situation and will be part of our future. It is the way it is so we might as well accept it.

So what are some of the common issues that businesses face and these peer groups tackle:

  • Life – work balance
  • Hiring and managing people
  • Delegation and creating a leadership structure
  • Becoming a sales and marketing organization
  • Developing process
  • Plan and set measurable goals
  • Have financial accountability and controls
  • Have an exit strategy
  • Train their team
  • Communication in every form

The list is much longer but these areas are certainly ones that are cross every roundtable peer group. These are all PEOPLE issues. No where do you see any mention of learning to be a better technician or eye doc or dentist or personal trainer. Those things get done because most owners already have a passion for them. They started their business by being good at that stuff and they continue to enjoy it. The problem is that no one likes the things on this list so they want to ignore it. After ignoring quits working – they want to push it on someone else without giving any guidance.

The sad fact is that many small businesses fail because they just don’t deal with these items. After all they were in business yesterday so it will be the same today. Right? Well that is true most days. And the reality is that the problems they ignored yesterday will be there when they show up for work today and tomorrow and forever until they get frustrated and quit or the business self-destructs. You cannot ignore PEOPLE stuff forever and get away with it. Things will blow up in your face. The day will come when you have to become a grown up and meet the challenges head on.

That is one of the dilemmas we face. No one ever told us we would have to deal with all this stuff when we started our business many years ago. After all, we were good at what we did. We fixed things and made it happen. It seemed so easy to hire a few more good people like ourselves and make this thing called a small business grow. That works for a while – the honeymoon period can be really fun – but one morning reality will call and then the issues have to be addressed. Peers are the best way to address them along with a steadfast commitment to be accountable to execute. As Edison said: “Vision without execution is hallucination” and there is a whole lot of hallucination going on in every vertical or small business.

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