There are two words that should be thrown out of your vocabulary. They are easy to use to explain why you haven’t reached new goals, new customers, or found better employees. They waste time, they waste money, and they are a waste of effort in saying them. I have heard them from some of the brightest people on the face of the earth and they make me cringe every time I hear them.
When you decided to start your business did you ever think you would be held back from finding success? Did you think this road is too hard to walk down? Was there ever a time in deciding to be your own boss that you thought “I Can’t…”? Of course not! There never a doubt that the road would be difficult, but you always had it in mind that you would be able to keep moving forward. Doubts make you human. Saying “I Can’t” makes you weak.
I worked for a great little company years ago that had a CEO with plenty of experience and a dynamic personality. Everyone was ready to follow his lead. It seemed that he had the right plan and the right team to make things happen. What shocked me was when sales did not jump like he planned and he said, “I can’t get these franchisees to do the right thing.” At first I was confused since this was a man with a lot of talent and could make a lesson out of throwing a problem at us to figure out. But, once he dropped his head and sighed, I knew he had given up. What hurt most was he gave up on the business right there in front of me. Once he shut down like that there was no way to give him an answer he would listen to.
“I Can’t…” is the beginning of an excuse that will rob you of time and money. If you wanted to give up, you wouldn’t be reading this article, but sometimes we get so wrapped up in the stress of the job we miss the opportunity that a problem can provide. Just remove the “I can’t” phrase from any sentence you may say and trade it for a new way of thinking about your problems.
Bulldog Rule #7 – remember to dream about where your business can go and then make it happen
Go to extremes to find the answers you need. I don’t want you to get crazy and scare people, but I do want you to think about how far in one direction you can take the answer to a problem. Going beyond what have been doing can give you a clearer picture of how to find the right answer you need. Start with the need, add the extreme ends of answering the problem, and see where things end up.
For example, if I need employees who are qualified to help customers and drive sales, I would start with just filling spaces with anyone. Now, no one would want to do that, but how often do you hire someone to fill a space on the schedule? What happens to your business if you do this? You will lose customers and spend a lot more money on trying to get customers back than if you waited to hire the right person.
Now, go the opposite way. If I wait to hire the right person I will have to work harder to cover this job and I may lose some customers. The effect is more time out of your life, but the level of service to customers you can help will not be lowered. You may lose customers because you can’t help them quickly, but not due to poor service. Do you have the time and energy to spend on filling this space?
The answer lands you in the middle ground between the extremes. Hiring an unqualified person would not help anyone. They would be out of a job and you would hurt your business. If you hired someone who is qualified, but untrained you can still help customers and keep you level of service high. You will have to invest the time to train this new employee but with the understanding that you will be able to step back more and more as they learn your way of doing business.
Being a small business owner means being flexible in handling any situation. Removing the crutches that can hold you back – verbal, mental, or physical – will drive you to the answers you need to stay profitable. No one ever won by saying “I can’t…”.