Business Lesson Taught By An Ostrich
When we were little kids we all heard the story about how ostriches stich their head in the sand to hide from enemies. Even at that young age we sense something isn’t quite right with the strategy.
I’ve experienced a modern-day ostrich in the form of a business owner. I once had a CEO tell me he no longer wanted to receive weekly sales and cash flow forecasts because they were so gloomy. He reasoned that if he didn’t look at them his business wouldn’t be affected by them.
Unfortunately, hiding from the facts doesn’t change them. Depriving yourself of critical information like future sales and cash flow, no matter how bad, makes it harder to climb out of the hole. How do you know, for example, if you’re making progress? How do you know if your sales team is doing its job? How do you plan for a cash deficit if you don’t know one is coming?
Successful business owners keep their eye on the ball no matter how tough things get. They’re focused on the key numbers that drive their business. They cheer when the needle moves in the right direction. They buckle down and re-tool when it doesn’t.
What I would have liked to say to the CEO (I couldn’t because he wasn’t open to hearing it) is that the answer to your sales and cash flow problems lay in the numbers. We track indicators so you always have a finger on the business’s pulse and always have the information to make smart business decisions. The numbers will tell you what’s worked and what hasn’t. Their conclusions aren’t always what you expect or what you want to year, but they are true. Instead od discarding them, let’s use them to our advantage. Let’s use them to chart a course out of the hole and to tract our progress.
Keep your head above the sand. Make sure you know your most important numbers and what they mean. Most importantly, make sure you know how to use them.