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Answers are easy. Asking the right question is hard. Over twenty years I have developed a skill for asking questions (to the dismay of my wife and family but that’s for another post). Many businesses get really good at delivering their particular product or service to the market but can experience challenges or problems that end up redirecting their efforts and sometimes causing them to lose sight of what they were trying to achieve in the first place. This past week I had the chance to have a coffee with an individual have known for many years who has had his fair share of challenges but like any good entrepreneur he used his lemons (bad circumstances) to create lemonade. Now that the moments of desperation are somewhat behind him he was looking to get himself on better financial footing and wanted some input from me. I asked him #OneQuestion that changed the rest of our conversation and ended with him sending me a lengthy email with all of his answers. I asked him:
“How much money does your business need for it to do more?”
Seems like a simple question right? Wrong. He hadn’t thought about what he would do if he had MORE money than he needed because all he has thought about for the past few years is the minimum amount he has needed just to survive. I have come to understand that when businesses first starts out the world seems like an open opportunity but after a few years of trying to make it work an entrepreneur or business owner can simply run out of inspiration and their venture becomes a job with tasks and responsibilities. If the economy or market changes then the job becomes figuring out how to stay afloat and it can be difficult to dream and imagine what might be possible.
The purpose of the question was to stimulate some conversation around how to maximize the revenue lines he had created. He had a few different businesses that had healthy gross and net margins so talking through what he would do if he had more money than he needed began to take our conversation down a road of identifying real growth opportunities for him to substantially increase and leverage his profits and ultimately the equity of his businesses. We began to talk through strategies and opportunities and concepts that he didn’t even think were possible. Don’t get me wrong there is still much work for him to do however when he gets up every day to run his businesses now he has a renewed sense of purpose and financial goals that he wants to achieve and believes he can.
Offence versus Defence
When we first start a business we have an offence mentality. How are we going to move our business forward every day? We do this because we are full of optimism and quite frankly don’t have a reason to think any other way. As life goes on and real life kicks in we begin thinking and acting defensively. I’ve said before (and truly believe) that:
“The best upside for a defensive strategy is not losing ground while the most practical downside is some ground is lost. The best upside for an offence strategy is to gain ground while the most practical downside is not losing ground.”
I have seen the difference first hand that an offence strategy can produce and have learned to ask myself and others #OneQuestion that forces an offence strategy to develop: How much money does your business need for it to do more? The answers begin to form ideas and even though they might not all be reasonable they are better than having nothing and continuing to let a business exist as it always has.
If you want someone to ask you some questions that get you thinking about offence strategies, growth and opportunities, visit www.mlenow.ca to explore what your business might be able to do.
I created mlenow.ca to help businesses looking for ideas, money and results. Our team gets up every day to help businesses that find themselves in this position. Let’s chat and connect if you (or someone you know) needs some help with their business.