Do you know what the biggest challenge facing small business owners is?
Getting pulled off on detours that feel like you are making progress, yet in reality, are stopping you from making progress towards where you want to get to.
It’s known as the Survival Trap and most business owners are living this.
You end up there because the most important element of business success is knowing what to work on, doing the right thing at the right time, yet you rarely know what this is.
The business owner knows that they want to make progress towards a point other than where they are.
They have a level of dissatisfaction with business as it currently is and a desire to move towards their ideal business.
The problem is very few business owners know what the most pressing priority in their business is. They don’t have a tool or means of assessing that accurately.
This leads to them taking any action to get from where they are, Point A, so that they can get a feeling of relief, a feeling of making progress.
However, most of these decisions aren’t congruent with moving towards your Ideal Business, Point B, and often take you in the wrong direction.
For example, the business has bills to pay, yet there is very little money coming in.
To raise some much-needed cashflow, the owner decides to have a flash sale. This brings some relief, it fixes the short term issue of being able to pay the bills.
However, it is a short term decision that isn’t congruent with moving towards the sustainable (profitable) business that is the owner’s vision of his ideal business.
And this pattern repeats itself. A series of short-term decisions that bring some immediate relief, often taking the business in the exact opposite direction of where you want to go or a trajectory that is further away and rarely towards the ideal business that the owner desires.
The good news is there is a tool that you can use to avoid this.
A tool that acts as a compass so that you can keep on a trajectory towards your ideal business.
Business Hierarchy of Needs (BHN)
It’s called the Business Hierarchy of Needs.
Just like Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs, we always take care of the lowest level of need that is not being met before we can take care of the needs further up the hierarchy.
At each level of the Hierarchy, there are 5 Core Needs which should be taken care of before satisfying the needs of the next level.
Unfortunately, many business owners try to jump up the levels before they have their foundations in place. They might try and take care of profit before they have sales (momentum and cashflow) taken care of.
This is a recipe for trouble ahead – if you try and build on soft ground, without solid foundations, there is going to come a point when everything comes crashing down.
Which is why the first priority in business is to take care of sales – build some momentum and create a steady cashflow that covers the businesses operating costs.
One reason so many business owners, especially sole traders, focus on profit too soon is because they think of profit as the money the business pays them, the money they take out of the business each month.
Instead, a monthly wage that the business pays the owner each month should be defined and this is a part of the businesses operating costs, and should be covered by the business cashflow.
This is the first Core Need to be taken care of at the Sales level of the BHN and is the priority, the Vital Need, of any business. When that need is met, only then do you re-assess to determine which Vital Need should be fixed next.
Your job, and my job as a business coach and certified Fix This Next Advisor, is to get clarity on both point A and point B, where you are now and where you want to go, and make sure there is congruency in your decision making to move towards point B.
To pinpoint your biggest need and align that with where you want to take your business.
My big advantage is using the Fix This Next process and Analysis to do this.