Have you ever seen a problem, know how to handle it & even though you attack it with the proper technique & vigorous effort, find that all your efforts were in vain? Well, I call this scrubbing the wrong side of the glass.
This morning I was cleaning the shower door (one of my favorite tasks-insert sarcasm emoticon) & was about to scrub through the glass to get some dirt off. It finally dawned on me that it was on the other side of the glass! That’s when the light bulb went on. How relevant this is for today’s business owner! Many businesses are experiencing that same scenario. Even though I saw the issue, knew what it was & how to fix it, my method (as great & foolproof as it was) was being applied in the wrong place.
What’s a major problem for most businesses? Procedures. Now where do procedures stem from? Examining data. Data is critical to every company. Data is a method of communication. It tells an owner or employee what’s going on. It tells how you got to this state & how to change outcomes. All it takes to grasp is one thing-attention. How do many companies fail? Someone was not paying attention. Not paying attention to employee needs. Not paying attention to customer service. Not paying attention to costs rising or falling. Not paying attention to newly released resources or techniques. Not paying attention to the company reputation. Not paying attention to deadlines, business relationships or continuing education.
How do you avoid that? Check the data. Routinely. Daily, monthly, quarterly & yearly. Data takes many forms. The most important thing is to collect it & collect it properly. It can be collected in many ways. Surveys, polls, trends, interviews & fads are ways to collect data. Not to mention good old observation! Listening is almost a lost art in society today, so take heed to the ripplings you hear. They may very well have some use. If nothing else, you can learn what not to do by listening. We must value & utilize this practice if we expect our businesses to not only survive, but thrive!
How can you tell what the data is telling you? Before you solve a problem, you must know what it is, what it takes to get rid of it, have the proper tools & use those tools properly to end it. However, a lot of problems we solve are just symptoms of a deeper issue. So most of all, you need to know how the problem got there so you can prevent it from happening again (if possible). Take notice of what happens when different factors change. Did you get more sales when you used Facebook posts? Are your employees more productive on Thursdays? Do you receive orders from your vendors sooner if ordered during the third week of the month as compared to the second?
Step back & take a hard look at what’s going on in your business. How can you cut costs? How can you keep employees happier & make your workforce feel like a real team? How can you better utilize your time? How can you run a better business?
So do you want to go from being this guy …
to this guy?
Well, you can. And the answers are all there-in your data.
- The Data Consumption Dilemma: 4 Pitfalls to Avoid (domo.com)
- When Is The Last Time You Cleaned Your Data? The Importance Of Database Cleansing (theapptimes.com)
- Bring Your Own Device Policies: 10 Practical Steps to Minimize Risk (schnaderworks.com)