Following is an excerpt from Scot Duke’s How To Play Business Golf Seminar/Workshop and upcoming book; How To Get an ROI Using Business Golf.
Everyday, seven days a week, people who are in business, or work for a business, face difficult problems that have to be solved in order to keep the business going. Whether it is CEO solving the problems related to the business’ sliding profits or the warehouse forklift driver needing find a way to work when his car breaks down, solutions have to be found to keep the business going.
Now some problems are insurmountable. Meaning the solution to the problem needs to be more than a fix or a temporary expedient. For these types of problems that keep coming up, or have such an impact on the business existence, innovative thinking in order to develop permanent solutions.
Yes, the word ‘innovative’ is the new catch word for the cliché ‘thinking outside the box’. But what makes innovative thinking so powerful is that sometimes it can produce a solution to a problem that comes from inside the box.
For example, the top five problems businesses deal with each day usually need innovative thinking to deal with the problem effectively. Let’s take a look at what causes these problems.
The number one problem business face today is not what most business people would think as even being a problem. It is not falling profits or rising costs, or even mounting competition or investor’s demand an immediate return on their investment. These seemingly insurmountable problems have a core problem that has to be addressed before the number one problem businesses face each day will go away.
So what is the number one problem business have to deal with? Simply put, it is Trust. Yes, the core issue to all of the top problems business face is Trust, or the lack of it.
How can trust be the core problem to all of the problems business face today? Well, let me break it down.
Let’s look at the number two problem, Falling Profits. In over 99% of the cases where falling profits is an insurmountable problem the reason is based on the reduced number of people buying a product or service. That is the simplest reasoning. More complicated issues would be related to the number three problem which is rising costs, but in most instances where falling profits is the main problem it is related to falling sales.
Why are sales falling? If a survey was to be performed of a business’ current and previous customers, most businesses would remark that either they found a better deal or the quality of the product has become an issue. Thus, the customer does not Trust the business to provide a quality product for a valued price.
The number three problem: Rising Costs. Most indicators show the reason for the price of a product to increase is related to the costs of the raw material or the cost of producing the product or service is going up. The most obvious reason for increases today is fuel costs. But why is the cost of fuel going up? Simply put; the oil companies do not trust that the supply of oil will continue or they trust they will be able to find more supplies of oil. Greed could squelch the trust factor, but none the less Trust is what is provided as their reason for raising the price of fuel.
Now, moving down the list of problems to the number four and five problems business face, Rising Competition and the Fear of No ROI. Why does rising competition rate so high on the list of problems business face? When businesses do not listen to their customer’s needs or wants, they usually are sitting on a customer base that is doing business with them only because there is no competition or the competition is not located conveniently enough in their market.
Businesses in this situation tend to get lethargic and pull back on having any interest in maintaining quality or in what their customer’s think or want. Most of these businesses attitude stems from being the only show in town.
When the competition becomes innovative by moving in on a businesses niche in hopes of taking in some of those customers, the threaten incumbent business’ problems of mounting competition now rapidly become the number two problem businesses deal with, falling profits. If they had kept up their quality and had built a relationship that allowed them to know how their customers felt about their business then they could fend off the competition’s effort with a trust in their customers staying with them.
Why are the customers jumping to the competition? Customers jump to another source of the product or services they need when they feel their present provider has no interest in them or they get a feeling the provider is want nothing but their money. They have a feeling of Mistrust. Also, some customers feel they are not getting treated fairly, nor there being any reason to stay loyal to a business that does not take the time to listen, or is interested in, their needs or wants.
How does the Fear of ROI get placed so high on the list? Well, almost every business needs help financially to get started or stay a float until a new product takes off. Whether it is a capital investment group, a bank loan with or a gift from a rich uncle, they all have expectation of getting an ROI. All of them want a ROI on the funds they leant paid back in a timely manor.
As long as profits continue to improve and costs of operations remain low businesses find producing an ROI easy. But when profits fall and costs go up the challenge of producing an ROI becomes a problem.
Years ago investors made investments into businesses for the long haul. They would ride out the lows and join in the highs experience over a long period of time. It was normal practice of providing thirty or forty years to get their money back.
Today, the return on an investment is calculated in days, if not minutes. These short term agreements make paying back on the investment very difficult and causes a pressure to produce.
But why is the pressure so demanding to get a quick ROI? Better yet, why do the lenders go into an investment with an attitude of fearing they are not going to get a return on their investment? Could it be they don’t Trust the business owners, or the business, or the people in the business, or the product or service the business provides, or trust the customers will even buy the product or services?
Investors today do not trust anything or anyone which spurs on the old adage of ‘trusting anyone any further than they can throw them’ as becoming the rally call for most of today’s investors. They put so many restrictions and conditions on their money to make sure they get it back immediately that if the business shows any weakness in the market that would effects the investment or the investors getting an ROI, the investor could take the business away from the owners. That pressure is why the Fear of Not Making a ROI is so high on the problem list.
So, in every case mentioned Trust became the issue behind every problem. But did you notice the common denominator in each problem that rides along with the trust issue in each of these cases? Yes, customer service, or lack of it, plays a large part in what generates the problems involving Trust.
Now, I have not forgotten it, but you are thinking…What has this got to do with the worker who cannot get to work because their car broke down? Well, the breakdown is probably due to two things, poor maintenance or a worn out car.
Either way it is a result of not being able to find a mechanic to trust to maintain or fix the car, or finding a car dealership to trust to provide a good price on a new car.
I find it interesting how something seemingly so simple as ‘Trust’ can make or break a business.
I’ll be back to provide you some on my innovative solutions to these problems.
Scot Duke, President of Innovative Business Golf Solutions, provides over 31 years of corporate management experience to helping small businesses improve their marketing strategies. As author of: How To Play Business Golf, Mr. Duke outlines the steps to sucessfully using golf as a business tool. To learn more about Mr. Duke, IBGS or to purchase How To Play Business Golf visit http://www.innovativebusinessgolf.com