Is there anything worse than hidden business challenges? The ability to identify and address challenges is a blessing. Not only do you get to catch and remove those obstacles that are holding you back, but you will find new opportunities for profit and growth in the process.
But what happens when you can’t even see what is or is soon going to stop you? Perhaps worse than that is when everyone, including your customers and competitors can see the problem but you.
No, worse than this must be those who feel all too comfortable and even boast while being clearly subpar. Their business has all kinds of holes in it, but they’re doing nothing to change it because that new Lexus or BMW in their driveway is enough.
They’re being kept from greatness and they don’t even realize it or care. They’re letting their ego get the best of them, I assure you.
Yes, they achieved success. But then they became all too satisfied. Since their business has now ceased to evolve, it won’t take long or much effort to push them into irrelevancy, as it’s the position they’ve already subconsciously chosen for themselves.
And the problem isn’t just that they’re being held back from greater rewards; there’s also the shabby experiences they’re giving buyers in place of the great experience that they could have given even to those who now refuse to be their customers as long as they remain on Subpar St. in Egoland.
Whether you try to identify your business challenges and can’t, don’t see them and don’t care, do see them and don’t care, or any combination where there is room for growth and it’s not being addressed, arrogance is somewhere in the mix.
Somewhere someone told someone in business that pride leads to success. In a way, it’s sound advice. But when that advice isn’t taken soberly it makes for disastrously depressing results for the business or for its customers, often for both.
Problem Blindness at Its Best
The less established the business, the more impact hidden challenges can have. These entrepreneurs don’t know why they are failing.
They don’t know why hardly anybody is buying and their closing ratio is poor. They don’t know why there’s so many refund requests, and on and on. To them, everything they’re doing is just right. They may even go as far as to say it’s the customers or employees who are at fault, or that certain metrics just don’t matter.
Yes, business problem blindness happens to both apparent failures and those who seem to have success. But the successful are it’s favorite and most common victims. They’re profitable and smooth-running but nowhere near the top of their potential. And yet, if you ask them, everything is great.
After all, their sales pitch is on-point. The USP is sexy and magnetic. Their product, team, and processes are all the best – according to them at least. Even, their numbers are all record-breaking highs.
They can’t see beyond their nose. They won’t be on top for very long because they failed to secure their position and innovate.
We all have a debt to society that can only be paid by deeply dishing out our very best. And this must be our true best, not just what we assume our best is.
Settling for anything less is unethical. It’s like giving up on life. It’s not a question of perfectionism but of duty. Mediocrity means lacking in forward momentum. It’s not always those on top who are egotistical inasmuch as it is those on any lower level who insist on defending their position – the ‘good enough’ gang.
Ego Versus Reason
Every business has challenges to address at any given moment. After all, times change, technology advances, consumer behavior changes and companies must adapt. It’s normal and should be expected. Businesses are supposed to evolve.
The perfectionist looks at challenges and gets stuck. It’s become such a well-known issue that some have launched entire campaigns against perfectionism, not just in business but in humankind.
And you know you’re a perfectionist if you get completely shut down every time you realize that something needs an improvement or a solution. Whatever gear they’re in when they approach a problem, they’ll stay there spinning their tires and burning rubber ‘til their tires go bald and their engine burns out.
But then there are the anti-perfectionists. Those who never think that anything needs to be made better – especially if they’re in charge of it. They expect less-than-stellar, so that’s what they get and give.
And if you perchance point out to them where anything could be made better, even if you offer a solution, you run the risk of them laughing at you and calling you a perfectionist. I suspect that these are undercover perfectionists who’re trying not to trigger themselves and don’t want to be found out. Some call them the lazy.
And we’ve already covered the over-proud.
These often are stuck much like perfectionists are. Only, these are stuck on their own credentials and achievements and general smell. They look to these instead of to the problem at hand.
In fact, they deny the existence of a challenge. You might liken them to Ivy League idiots. One can come up that’s hungrier and more clear-minded and snatch the high position away from them easily, just by addressing all the problems the over-proud denied.
Next are those lacking in insight. They’re hard workers and, perhaps because they’ve worked themselves beyond burnout, they claim (hope) working hard enough is all it takes. In fact, the reason they lack insight is because they’ve put work in the place where reflection should be.
These choose volume over quality and are more likely, for example, to send you a cheesy sales pitch immediately after you accept their LinkedIn invite rather than aim to build a real relationship. Often, they avoid identifying and addressing challenges because they think they already have too much work on their plate. Of course, they’re the ones that put the work there in the first place!
These are just a few examples of mental positions entrepreneurs can take. They block themselves from seeing and handling their business challenges and making real improvements. There are other states of mind with this result, but these are the most common.
So, the question becomes how can challenges be approached without being overwhelming and addressed at such a pace that progress can still be made?
Rounds of Reiteration
In many industries there are advanced systems of quality checks, testing, assessment, and improvement implementation. The software industry is one. There are many.
But not every entrepreneur has experience with these kinds of business practices or project protocols. And they never would encounter them. And if they did encounter them, they would not adopt such programs for themselves as is.
The core principle remains the same, however, even if you’re a solopreneur. If you have a non-biased process of review for each key area of your business, and a routine for noting and addressing any challenge that’s not in one of those areas, you’ll get a lot further a lot faster.
But first, if necessary, get your “ego” out of the way. That is the simple (perhaps not so simple) step of changing how you perceive what you’re doing – and perhaps even who you are.
And this is not about collecting and implementing customer feedback either, by the way. The customer is not always right. They cannot tell you how to run your business or what your business should be. Only you can decide that.
No, this is about your own ability to identify and find solutions for weaknesses in your business practices. And since your business is your baby, no one can give you the substance of that because you hold the vision. The most anyone could do is provide you with a framework, and you would have to customize even that.
Attitude Goes a Long Way
Don’t let business challenges stop you, but don’t let them go unnoticed and unaddressed. To know your business is to know its challenges as well as its merits.
And maybe your goal is to establish a process through which you can make sure you’re getting this done. Maybe you already have a process like that. The process is secondary to your perception, and only you can shift that.
But if you’re clear about what you want and the impact you have the power to make (i.e. if you’re responsible), then taking a sober look at your business and yourself is instantly a lot easier.