The first step is to do everything you need to do to gain perspective, a big picture view of your situation. Cultivate a sense of continuous curiosity.
- Refresh: You can get a fresh perspective by…
- Taking a break from the business, getting outside, change your office environment.
- Talk with trusted colleagues and mentors.
- Seeking outside advice from a coach or consultant.
- Solicit and listen to feedback from clients.
- Attend networking events, talk with a nurture relationships with other business owners.
- Reflect: Answer the following questions and reflect on the answers to see how you might modify your approach. Talk to your customers. Ask them open ended questions, listen, make notes. Then when you learn enough you will be able to take your customers point of view when making business decisions. Begin by asking enough customers the same set of questions until you feel like you have new insights or perspective. Review the answers and feedback you get, then answer the following questions:
- What is working well? Why?
- What isn’t working? Why?
- What is our single biggest unresolved problem in how the business is run? What needs to change?
- What don’t we understand about customers’ needs and how is that affecting the business? How can we adjust our approach?
- Learn: Are you prepared to learn how to evaluate your current situation with a Critical Eye?
- What are you missing, what don’t you understand?
- What information, POV do your employees have that you might be missing due to your own bias?
- If you decide to make changes, how will your systems and processes need to adjust to accommodate a new business model or approach to customer service, financial controls and project management?
- Revisit Your Objectives: considering how things could change, how might you need to adjust how you define success and/or progress?
- What specifically needs to change?
- In light of the answer to (a) above what will you need to change?
- What will it take to create actual “Forward Movement” toward your most important goal(s)?
- Have you created a customer experience blueprint that specifies deliverables and processes? Are you willing to learn how to do that?
- What needs to happen before everything else, to ensure success?
- How long is your runway? Do you have enough “runway or room” to achieve your end result?
- Your runway is made up of time, resources, energy and effort, what is required to make your business work smoothly?
- What might you have missed in your plan?
- How certain and predictable are the assumptions you’ve made?
- What happens if your assumptions don’t turn out the way you thought?
- Stay Open or Is It Time Close?
- Is it time to close the business, pivot/reinvent or double down on your plan?
- If you choose to “Double down” see question 6.
Why did you start the business in the first place?
What has changed since then?
What assumptions did you make and is it time to rethink your approach?