Sluggish business performance is a pretty subjective phrase.  I define it as anything that prohibits and entrepreneur from achieving their realistic business goals in the specified timeframe.  There is a critical word in that definition REALISTIC.  Most small business owners don’t even know if their goals are realistic or not based on their current resources.  If you’re not sure then you absolutely must start with the first action.

Fix Root-Cause Business Performance Problems – Not Just Symptoms

This is a big one with most small businesses.  While there are always problems in a business are you working on the cause of the problem or just a symptom of another underlying problem?  It amazes me how frequently small business owners are fighting a fire when the dragon that started the fire has moved on to the next village in their business.

Root-cause analysis is not a skill everyone is born with, but it can be learned.  This was the purpose in creating the Tuning Your Revenue Engine program; to teach the skills necessary to pinpoint root-causes of business performance issues.  Fix the root-cause and all the other problems miraculously go away!  Watch the video Tuning Your Revenue Engine if you’re not familiar with our approach.  The post “Poor Cash Flow – 5 Things That Could Be Causing It” will also familiarize you with how to apply the approach to pinpoint your problem on which to focus.

Set Objectives to Fix Root-Cause Business Performance Problems

Once you know where to focus next you should set business objectives to correct the problem.  Again this seems quite obvious, but I find most small business owners are focused on the wrong objectives.  They’re focused on sales when they should be focused on production.  Or they’re focused on production when they should be focused on marketing.  Or even worse, they’re focused on growth when they should be stabilizing their operation overall.

While most businesses have objectives, but if you’re focused on the wrong things then business performance suffers as a result.  So, take the input from the last step and take action on it here.

Additionally, make sure the objectives are SMART.  That is:

Redirect the Necessary Resources

Now that you have a target, point every resource you possibly can, both human and financial, at working the objective(s).  If you want to fix performance, then it needs to be your priority.  The only thing that takes priority over it at this point should be the necessary cash flow to breakeven.  Beyond that nothing else matters.

I am sure I’ll get plenty of comments saying well what about this or what about that.  If you want to grow your business then nothing else matters.  You focus all your energy on unimpeded cash flow.  That’s what tuning your revenue engine is all about stripping away all the obstacles between you and your business’ growth!

Create Accountability for All

Accountability is the way that things now get done.  And, not just for your employees and suppliers but for YOU TOO!  Growth required leadership and good leaders understand that they must set the example.  So, once the plan is built create accountability by monitoring progress on a set reporting schedule.  Report your progress on your tasks to the team and ask them for theirs.  In this way you show that you expect no less from yourself than you expect from them.  When they feel like you are in the boat rowing with them they have a guide to emulate.  Set the example and see better results.

While this is a critical leadership aspect to fixing sluggish business performance there are others.  You can read more about becoming a better leader from the previous post 10 Leadership Traits We Can All Learn From A Boy Scout.

Get Started Growing Your Business

So, here is your roadmap to get your sluggish business performance jumpstarted.  What are you waiting for?  If you don’t know where to begin, then post your questions to the comments sections below.  We respond to all legitimate comments and there’s no charge.

If you’re not sure where your problems lie, how about a FREE Business Growth Self-Assessment? Find out more about this powerful management model and how to apply it to your business. Just click the button below to find out more.