In our current economic environment it is all too easy to get negative, be discouraged or, even worse, think foolishly about how to improve our business.
As the owner of a national franchise company, I have the unique opportunity to experience this firsthand. Over many years, I have learned some business owners are looking for a "magic pill" or a lifesaver idea that will fix everything.
For a moment, let's look at improving your business in the same terms as weight loss. We have all seen weight loss commercials that not only promise amazing results but also transform lives. The idea is to take a diet pill and magically lose the weight, then have increased confidence and start prospering in every area of life. Wouldn't that be cool if it were healthy and sustainable? Most of us have known many people who have had little to no results from taking a diet pill or a few who have had tremendous results short term. But we would be hard-pressed to name anyone with sustainable results by the diet pill method alone.
We may know one or two people who have had sustainable weight loss results, but if we investigate closer, we will likely find one or more of the following elements exist: they changed their eating habits and the type and quantity of food they eat; they stopped eating anything heavy or high in calories late at night; they started or increased the amount of exercise they get on a weekly basis; or they found additional activities for enjoyment other than eating. In other words, they made an investment and changed behavior over and above the diet pill to achieve the sustainable results they desired.
The same concept applies to the business world of get-rich-quick programs that mirror the diet pills. They don't work unless you do! We all want to avoid the foolish thinking diet pills encourage, and we want to avoid getting stuck believing that nothing can help us achieve a quantum leap in our business.
Let me share a personal story to help illustrate this. I was a pole-vaulter in my junior year of high school and cleared 11 feet to 11 feet, 6 inches, which would sometimes place me in the top 6. I accomplished this by being mostly self-taught with some coaching, hard work, determination and a desire to improve. But I suffered from not knowing everything. At a local track meet, I met a coach who ended up being the pole vaulting coach for Baylor University.
The coach invited me to train with him. I learned many lessons from him, including that I had the wrong size pole, so he let me borrow one to use. Then, he explained the different elements of the science and art of pole vaulting. He had me practice each element over and over again for hours. In my mind, I impatiently and foolishly wanted to get to the end result of vaulting over the bar. Thank God I had a great coach who understood the need for a strong foundation and knowledge of the fundamentals. I wasn't necessarily the fastest or most gifted, but I was coachable. I invested the time, energy, money and hard work and made good decisions that supported the result I wanted. This resulted in breaking the district record (which had stood for over a decade) by a foot and a half at 14 feet, 6 inches, and Baylor University discussing scholarship opportunities with me.
So, whether it is weight loss, sports or business, you can't avoid the law of sowing and reaping. If you invest foolishly, you will get what you plant, but if you invest wisely your odds of a fruitful harvest will increase exponentially. For sustainable success, you will have to invest wisely, of your time, energy, money and hard work; be coachable; and make good decisions, which equal effective leadership.
Whichever way you might look at investing in your business and improving your results, be prudent and do your homework. Nothing replaces diligence. But don't be so doubtful, fearful or close-minded that you miss a chance to have a quantum leap in your business as I experienced pole vaulting! What I gained was knowledge I didn't have — a system, training, tools and ongoing coaching — that made the difference for me.
There's a proverb that has helped me in business and life: "A wise man has great power, and a man of knowledge increases strength; for waging war you need guidance and for victory many advisors."
|Doug Dwyer is president and chief stewarding officer of DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen, one of the nation's largest remodeling franchises. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.|