I consult many different types of businesses. Most of my time has been with heating and Air contractors and dentists. The education can be far different, and the work environment certainly is but the obstacles they both face are harder for the dentists to overcome in their businesses that it is in a typical HVAC business. That is the ability to change.
Many business owners claim that they want to grow, they want to work less, or they want to be more profitable. Mostly, they want all of the above. So they hire an expert to help coach them on how to get there, but then ignore the advice. All advice requires change, so why do some people ask for advice on how to become more profitable, but then say they don’t want to change the behaviors that are preventing them from getting there.
I have been banging my head against the wall for years wondering why it is so hard for some people to make the shift, but then, looking back at myself a few years ago. I too, resisted change. I have narrowed the reason for the resistance down to a couple of reasons.
1. I did not believe the advice was possible.
2. The advice was going to require that I do something I was not comfortable with.
Lack of faith in what is possible is still a large factor limiting a business’s success. For instance, when I tell a business owner that more emphasis needs to be put on the how they answer the phones, or that they need to spend more in advertising, they choose not to act, because they don’t think it will have the outcome I claim. When my clients do take a leap of faith, they have always been the better for it. But the dentists have a hard time taking this leap of faith.
The bigger challenge is the people who have faith, but are uncomfortable making the required change. Change is uncomfortable for all of us but as I have written before, “Do the uncomfortable until it is no longer uncomfortable to do. For this is how you grow.” For most, this is easier said than done. They instead watch from the sidelines as their competitors continue to grow as rapidly as their own debit.
Do that hard thing.
The hard thing might be letting go of a longtime employee, it might be changing your behaviors or taking the time to learn what your financials are telling you. The hard thing might require you to get out in the field and sell something when your sales team is not. If there is no work on the schedule, there is nothing you need to be doing in your office that is more important than generating work. Yet I find most business owners grumbling about lack of sales to the people in the office who can do little about it. When you say to yourself “I should be doing…” do it. Don’t let fear of doing the hard thing stop you. Change is eminent, be the one that chooses change. Don’t let change choose you.
Embrace change by continually raising the bar. This is the most important part of a business culture for success. You can’t become comfortable with what is, you have to always push to improve. This culture breeds constant change and it is both a leap of faith and a painful process. It will however poise you for growth and profits.
If you don’t change your business, the market will do it for you. So do as a wiser man then me once said, “Change or be changed”