Are we getting out of the recession? Will it be a double dip recession? Will we end up like Greece? Will the Germans offer to buy the Isle of Wight and would we care? How will we survive? And what’s this got to do with firefighting??

Answers in order:

No (or maybe very slowly)

Very likely (supplementary question: Will Government cut backs make it worse? Yes, but no cuts will make it worse for longer)

Probably not!

The Greeks didn’t care what the Germans thought..perhaps they misheard that quote about the technological revolution. The Geeks shall inherit the earth. Oops.

By not firefighting! I’m getting there eventually.

What is firefighting? The (in)ability to manage what the day brings so you end up running around like your bum is on fire dealing with emergencies that you didn’t foresee or didn’t plan to avoid. Which in its turn leads to a poor performance all round, lost resources, lost profits and a generally weakened business if it happens too often. In fairness, we all have a day like this sometimes. It’s when it’s the norm because you don’t control your business, you will end up failing. The business will control you. And then stop.

Yet so many businesses are still doing it. And wondering why they don’t make any money, have to argue about which bill they will pay this week, have regular discussions with their bank…Is it so fashionable? Is it the new black?

Of course not, but so so hard to stop, once you’ve started on this path, apparently.

It’s no good saying I’d change, I’d plan, I’d write down what we do so I don’t have to repeatedly tell people how to do simple things…BUT…I’ve got all this stuff to shovel, so there’s no time, there’s no resources, I’m tired. You don’t understand. (Sorry – yes I do!)

Some people have plenty of time to moan about it, or even to do it again when it goes wrong, but no time to think about it so it doesn’t go wrong in the first place…rework is after all, the most expensive work you can do…

The good news is that it’s generally simple enough to fix. You don’t have to throw the baby out with the bathwater; you don’t have to stop doing all the things that are just about keeping you afloat whilst you sort it out. It doesn’t take enormous manuals and huge amounts of creative juices, with multiple business degrees. Or lots of money. Any more excuses? No, on we go then.

It just takes you to write down in note form what you do, see the holes (they will be obvious) plug them with another note, and tell people this is how it is. Or a diagram, or spreadsheet. Whatever is easiest for you.

Most businesses just need a few little tweaks, which together can have a cumulative big effect. Then, with your business running slightly better, you can afford a bit of time to look at a few more tweaks, which you will (I hope you have already identified), and implement them. It’s very energising, and gives you the encouragement to do more. It gives you back control and choice in your life.

I’ve just spent a day with a business who know exactly what they are doing (and not doing), exactly what results they need to survive, and even what the gap is. They have stuff written down, but they don’t tell people about it. People like their customers. They just needed a method and process to do it.

We are doing it all the time with our clients, (and often getting Government funding to do it) which is why they will survive and even prosper. Single dip, double dip, inflation, deflation – whatever. A well run business will find a way to survive. We know how. Your competitors know how. Hadn’t you better find out? Black may not suit you!

PS See Duct tape – the reason small businesses exist?