Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Question yourself

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      to help you better manage your small business.

     You're running your small operation. Or you're thinking about starting one. It's time to question what you're doing and where you're headed.

     Want proof? Throw yourself forward in time a thousand years. Archaeologists are sifting through the remains of our civilization. They are perplexed. What could explain the millions of miles of paved roads and the vehicles that used them?

     Gradually, the scientists home in on a theory. These ancient peoples were sun worshipers. They raced out of their homes at sunrise, driving around to welcome the sun. At sundown, they interrupted their activities to drive around again to bid the sun goodnight. The highway cloverleafs were the temples. 

     Any given set of facts can be explained in very different ways. It's true with scientists, and it's true with you and your business. 

     Questions: Am I in the right business? Am I trying to move too quickly? Am I on top of the changing marketplace? Is the money for growth being generated quickly enough internally? Do I really know my clients/customers? Do they really know what I do, and can do, for them? Am I heading in the same direction they are? Do I pay enough attention to their needs and concerns? What can I do to better prepare for tomorrow's business world? Should I be changing directions to better address tomorrow's marketplace?

     People who run small businesses are fleet of foot. That's their edge over big corporations. Small businesses can change directions very quickly. This is a great asset, but it can lead you into blind alleys. Like future archaeologists, people in small business can come to the wrong conclusions.

     Logical thinking is one of the great achievements of the human mind. It has proved itself over and over again. But it is not the only tool you have.

     Intuition is a tool that leavens the bread. If it feels wrong, don't do it. Intuition can mean that logic has let you down. Go back over what you're planning, and get logic in sync with intuition.

     Now, go back to the top and read this again. Pay close attention to the Questions.

     Over my lifetime of starting up, growing, thinking and writing about business--first in corporate America and then in small businesses of my own--I have learned valuable lessons. Logical thinking and intuition are foremost among them.  

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