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Performance Problems

The full title of this book by Kristen Cox and Yishai Ashlag is

Stop Decorating the Fish: Which problems to ignore and which problems really matter

In my review posted to Amazon.co.uk, I gave it 2 Stars.

Here is my review.

Nice idea, disappointing delivery

I thought this was a very good idea but, as soon as I opened the kindle book, I realised there is a problem. It’s not in the normal kindle format but instead, a two page pdf style book in landscape format. This has the advantage of presenting the diagrams and images fairly well but the disadvantage that the text was a little too small to read easily and I couldn’t highlight sentences of interest. [continue reading…]

in Other Business Books

If your business is stuck and your performance has stalled in terms of sales and profit, or worse if things have turned down, you need to take action.

The first thing to ask is…

Do You Know Why Your Business Is Stuck?

In detail? Meaning you have identified specific causes?

Or have you made an assumption based on gut instinct. If so, beware. These attributions are often wrong.

Do You Know What To Do And How To Do It?

For change to happen, you need three things:

  • To know what to do.
  • To know how to do it.
  • To have the commitment to take the necessary actions.

[continue reading…]

in Business Problems And Mistakes

Right from the start of my career, I’ve been fascinated by the idea of helping turn around businesses in trouble. When I was being interviewed as a trainee accountant in 1981, I expressed interest in the firms’ business recovery departments.

My career as an employee had its share of highs and lows. I was seconded to a start-up company in a group and had the true “cradle-to-grave” experience as I eventually closed it and sold off the assets. I was also the Finance Director of a business that found itself caught in a savage price war and I’ve never seen profit drain away from a business so quickly.

When I had to write a dissertation for my MBA, it seemed obvious to choose a topic that looked at how small businesses in financial difficulty might be rescued before collapse. It involved extensive research into the causes of failure and how businesses can achieve turnaround and I really threw myself into it. So much so that I had to ask for a six month extension. When finished, the dissertation was received a Grade A Distinction, which meant it qualified to be permanently bound and placed into the Manchester Business School library.

I’m telling you this because one of the interesting things thrown up by my research was the issue of causal attribution and how business managers and owners deceived themselves, at the risk of the future survival of the business.

Let’s have a look at what I discovered. [continue reading…]

in Business Problems And Mistakes

When you have a problem as a business owner, it’s very easy to feel unsure about what you need to do next to improve your business.

You feel stuck (see symptoms of being stuck) and it’s hard to get unstuck on your own.

Quite simply, you’re too close to see things objectively.

This makes it hard to move from the symptoms to the underlying problem so the temptation is to try to cure the symptoms again and again.

It’s like playing whack-a-mole. [continue reading…]

in Business Problems And Mistakes

The Symptoms Of Being Stuck In Your Business

Sometimes you know you’re stuck because you have a problem going around and around in your head without reaching an answer. Other times, you or your business might suffer from some of these symptoms:

  1. You’ve lost the feel good factor of being your own boss.
  2. You feel conflicted about your business, as if you’re being pulled in at least two directions at the same time..
  3. Profitability is lower than you want.
  4. Cash flow issues regularly arise like being paid late by customers or having to fend off suppliers who want to be paid before you’ve got the money.
  5. You get to the end of the day and feel as if you’ve acquired more new jobs to do than you’ve completed in the last ten or twelve hours.
  6. Your employees seem to create more problems than they solve. Morale is down and you might have lost or be in danger of losing your best employees.
  7. You know your customers are disgruntled because you can’t give them the service they demand and you want to give.
  8. You’re unsure where you should focus the time you do have for business improvement in the future.
  9. Customers continually encourage you to cut prices just to keep their business, let alone increase it. You’ve lost ground on the factors that used to make your business attractive to customers because it was different from your competitors.

[continue reading…]

in Business Problems And Mistakes

What Is A Struggling Business?

I’ve designed my business to help business owners who are struggling.

That begs the question…

“What is a struggling business?”

It’s one that is performing at a level below the business owners realistic expectations and desires.

The business owner (and his or her family) is having to make sacrifices in the way they live their lives. [continue reading…]

in Business Problems And Mistakes