As an entrepreneur, you probably suffer from what Michael Gerber calls “busy, busy, busy”.
There’s always much more you which you could do…, should do.
But what really matters?
What is the main thing that is stopping your business from making more money?It’s an interesting question and it explains why I’m attracted to using the theory of constraints in my strategy coaching.
There are two techniques in particular from the Theory of Constraints Thinking Processes that we should talk about.
The first is the Prerequisite Tree.
This focuses your attention on the necessary conditions to meet your goal.
It’s particularly important for start-up businesses or those that have never performed well.
The idea is to focus on the individual things necessary for your success which together become sufficient.
It’s a bit like a jigsaw puzzle – you don’t get to see the full effect until every piece is in place.
But the jigsaw has been mixed in with other sets of pieces.
There are many things competing for your attention, but they don’t fit.
They don’t complete the picture.
The 1,001 other things you could do in your business take your time, attention and money but because they are nice to haves rather than must haves, they move you forward.
The Prerequisite Tree identifies the most important things to focus on and turns them into intermediate objectives.
We can find the items by asking “What’s stopping you from achieving your goal? Why haven’t you already done it?
The second important aspect of the Theory of Constraints Thinking Processes I want to focus on in this blog is the Current Reality Tree.
This works from the symptoms of your problems – perhaps not making enough money – and working back helps us to identify the core problem which will have maximum impact.
This is identifying the constraint.
And when you can see it, you can follow the Theory of Constraints principles and do something about it.
The constraint may be inside the business.
It may genuinely be a physical constraint – you could sell much more if only you could make it.
Or it could be a policy constraint. Unfortunately it is easy to get trapped by conventional thinking and do things because “that’s the way we’ve always done them” without appreciating the consequences.
Or the constraint could be out there in the market.
You could make more money if only you could sell more.
The Theory of Constraints has an answer for that too by developing what’s called an unrefusable offer or even a Mafia offer (think Marlon Brando saying “I’m going to make you an offer you called refuse” in The Godfather”).
This is the purpose of differentiating your business and explains my interest in the Theory of Constraints and the work of Eli Goldratt.
I recommend you take a look at this excellent book