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Your business is your livelihood and how you like to spend your days. You’ve likely put a lot of time and energy into it over the years. It can be devastating and frustrating to learn that business isn’t going as well as you would have hoped.
The reality is that businesses go through ups and downs, and your entrepreneurial journey may not always be easy. Instead of getting down on yourself, view this as an opportunity and a challenge that you can overcome with the right approach. Be glad to know there are steps you can take to help your struggling business so you can get back on your feet and start heading in a positive direction.
REVISIT YOUR BUSINESS PLAN & GOALS
When your business is struggling, it’s a good time to go back and revisit your business plan and set new goals. It’s possible that what you’ve done in the past and going on with business, as usual, is creating more problems for you. Hopefully, you’ve been measuring your results and can see what’s working and where the hold-ups might exist. It’s possible that the business landscape and customer needs are changing and that you need to alter your strategy a bit to keep up with these latest developments.
SEEK OUTSIDE HELP
It’s never a bad idea to reach out and seek outside help when your business needs a refresh and new perspective. Find a resource or consulting company that can help your business Evolve to stay ahead of current challenges so you can get back on track quickly. There may be issues or leadership challenges that you’re not aware that a third party can point out. They can evaluate your current state and offer up a solution that will help you to refocus.
TWEAK YOUR MARKETING STRATEGY
You may want to consider increasing your marketing when your business is struggling. It could be that you’re not getting in front of the right customers at the right time. Tweak your marketing strategy so that you can create more brand awareness around your company and communicate why someone should do business with you. Consider taking an SEO course to educate yourself on best practices and how you can increase your visibility online.
FIND SUPPORT FROM YOUR NETWORK
You’ve likely been working on building up your network of business connections over the years. When your company is struggling is the perfect opportunity to reach out and take advantage of the relationships you’ve built. Find a mentor or someone in your network who can relate to what you’re going through and offer up useful advice and guidance regarding how you can approach the future.
Most importantly, it’s imperative that as the leader of the company, you maintain a positive mindset through all the uncertainty. Focus on what’s going well and applying your creativity to overcome difficult situations you’re facing. Try your best to think of all the ways your business may come out even better and on top after having gone through this experience. Encourage your employees to keep working hard and continue to brainstorm ideas for how you and your team can overcome this obstacle.
The concept of lean leadership emerged from lean manufacturing. C-suite executives saw the 25 percent-plus improvements in productivity in that sector and decided that they wanted to share in some of those gains. Thus, the concept of lean leadership was born.
“Lean” in the context of leadership, however, is quite different from its forebear. While the basic idea is to economize, the concept is far more nebulous than that. So much so, that some have gone as far as to suggest that lean leadership is just “good leadership” – there isn’t much distinction between them.
There are two main pillars that mark out lean leadership from its traditional corporate counterpart. The first is the notion that lean leaders take a less naive view of company profitability. Unlike traditional leaders, they’re not solely interested in the amount of money the firm makes in the next quarter. They also care about how their decisions will impact all stakeholders in years to come, including colleagues, customers, and owners. Thus, they’re more strategic in their thinking, considering issues more holistically.
The second pillar is the notion that lean leaders shirk the top-down management hierarchy of the past and, instead, work to improve the leadership capacities of their followers. In a sense, lean leaders help their teams internalize leadership qualities, aligning them with the company mission, enhancing the potency of every individual.
Lean Leadership Improves Business Efficiency
Traditionally, companies take a top-down approach to leadership. An executive issues an order which travels through successive layers of management, eventually reaching the relevant people on the ground.
Lean leadership, however, sees this approach as a missed opportunity. People with their fingers in the pie are a resource that goes to waste under this paradigm.
Lean philosophy, therefore, is to leverage leaders to provide the rank and file with skills that will enable them to make better decisions in real-world conditions. There are no complicated feedback loops or command-and-control structures: just individual decision-makers doing things that make sense in the context of the company’s mission, pushing it forward.
Under the lean leadership system, therefore, leaders attempt to distribute knowledge across their teams as widely as they can. It is a kind of insurance policy that reduces the risk when you allow individual team members to take a more active role in decision-making.
A Mentoring Style Of Leadership Improves Morale
Lean leadership also yields improved morale. Most workers don’t want a manager breathing down their neck all day, telling them precisely what they need to do next. Instead, they want someone who will coach them, help them develop, and enable them to make better decisions independently. Traditional management outsources this task to external coaching consultants, but lean leaders see it as fundamental to their role. In this paradigm, managers ARE the trainers, not just people who direct production.
Lean leadership, in summary, is a way of leading, a way of being efficient and, in a sense, a way of living. It takes a different tack to the problem of organizing a large group of people, doing away with micromanagement, and allowing things to evolve more organically. By seeding new leaders, it takes advantage of a firm’s latent human resources.