Not long ago I surrendered myself to a hospital to have a major surgery on my right leg. I use that word “surrender” deliberately, because that's exactly what one has to do to survive what's going to happen next. I had my right knee replaced with a prosthetic titanium knee, my kneecap augmented with prosthetic materials, and my entire leg realigned.
Having a total knee replacement is a brutal, harsh surgery. My entire leg is purple and green from the ankle to the upper thigh and the pain is tremendous, even with painkillers. I honestly wouldn't wish this type of surgery on my worst enemy.
Or would I? Being physically realigned is sudden and ferocious but it does facilitate instant massive change. You have no option to go back to what was. It is severed and gone, no longer a part of you. Your only option is to move forward and learn to walk, sit, stand, and move in a completely new way.
Surrendering to realignment means you give in, completely, to what might come out of the “surgery” so to speak. And sometimes, I argue, that can be a very good thing for a business to do. I believe that many small business owners need a realignment in their business, but refuse to surrender themselves to the process (the surgery).
How do you know your business needs a realignment? Here are seven sure signs (you only need one of them!).
- Your sales are falling.
- It's harder and harder to engage existing customers, you don't have much new to offer them.
- It's costing you more money to find new customers (prospecting costs more).
- You are avoiding critical elements like marketing because you are too busy spending time on administrative tasks.
- You feel desperate or bored.
- You have a vague sense that your market is changing but are bewildered about how to figure it out.
- Staff are apathetic, or have a so-so attitude.
Most small business owners will either sigh and accept the less than ideal sales or other conditions, or else begin to make tiny, incremental changes around the edges of the business that are chosen because they are relatively pain free. My experience in working with my clients is that this timid amount of change doesn't make much difference and in fact can create more apathy, fear, and distress.
As the business owner you may resist surrendering to what really will give you more freedom. We tend to avoid things like:
- Firing staff who are not fully on board, using the excuse that it's too hard to find decent help.
- Committing to our marketing plan and carrying out every single aspect of it, without fail, no matter how “busy” we are.
- Stopping offers of products or services that are not very popular or profitable.
- Asking for help from a peer or coaching group because we are not willing to carry through with their recommendations.
Like me, you may be putting off the surrender to surgery until it is almost too late to help. Instead of your ability to walk, what's on the line is your ability to make money and stay in business. If you find yourself or your business suffering from one or more of the “needs realignment” signs I listed above, please seriously consider surrendering to realigning what is not working and getting back on track. In the end, after a time of adjustment, you and your business will be stronger, last longer, and be more profitable and fun.