Why isn’t your business working? How to get to the root of the problem

Are you happy with your business’ success? Or are you frustrated and confused by its lack of progress? Read five ways to learn why your business isn’t working – and what to do.

Michaela Oldfield from Green Shoots Coaching explains why it’s not always easy to spot the reasons why your business isn’t working, and five ways you can identify any issues.

Running a successful business isn’t easy

Running your own business can be incredible rewarding, but it’s certainly never easy. This is doubly true when you’re balancing that business with family commitments. All the many plates you need to keep spinning can be overwhelming, and when something goes wrong it can be tricky to know just what the issue really is.

This is something I come across a lot in my work as a business coach. The business owners I work with will be well aware that something isn’t right, but frequently they are blaming the wrong things for those problems.

Are you blaming the wrong things?

Let me give you an example. Perhaps you’re struggling with cash flow in your business. This is a classic problem which is, sadly, the reason why many businesses fail. No matter how rosy your prospects, if you don’t have enough ready cash to work with it can be very difficult to keep going.

In many cases, business owners blame outside influences, such as expensive suppliers or late-paying customers, for this kind of problem. And while these things definitely have an impact, many of us are wary to turn the mirror on ourselves and consider whether we might be at fault. After all, cash flow problems can often be a result of poor financial management.

If you fall into the trap of blaming the wrong things for the issues in your business, it can become very difficult to effectively address those problems and move forwards. And issues that started out small will grow over time and you may find that they start to really hold your business back.

Five ways to get to the root of the problem

In order to properly address any issues in your business it’s important to get to the root of the problem. In some cases this many be an outside influence, but in my experience it’s far more likely to be due to something internal.

If you’re having trouble getting to the root of your business issues, here are five suggestions that can help.

1) Make time for introspection

It’s unlikely that you’ll get to the bottom of your issues without a lot of careful thought. You may find that it’s easier to engage in big-picture-thinking away from your usual place of business. Personally, I always find that my best introspective thinking happens while walking the dog!

2) Go back to basics

In many cases there’s a fairly simple explanation behind bigger business problems. It’s possible that they’re a result of your own personal feelings about things such as finances, communication or management: make sure you give these issues proper thought.

3) Write it down

The act of putting pen to paper can help us delve deeper into our own personal psyche. You could start by making a list of reasons why things might not be going as planned. Something might come out that surprises you!

4) Talk it out

You might find it difficult to find the source of the problem on your own. Talking it through with a trusted friend, family member or colleague can be beneficial. Alternatively, you might want to think about working with a coach.

An experienced coach will be able to help you make links between the issues in your business and your habits and behaviours.

5) Consider what else is going on in your life

Very few of us are effectively able to distinguish fully between our work selves and our home selves. If you’re struggling in one area of your life, it’s very likely that other areas will be affected.

If things are amiss in your business, make sure you consider whether issues at home could be the cause. Relationship problems, behavioural stresses and child-induced sleep deprivation can all contribute!

What do you do once you get there?

Once you’ve found the root cause of your business issue you’ll be in a far better position to work out how to properly address it.

The key thing to remember here is that you don’t have to do it on your own. I’ve already mentioned how helpful friends, family members, colleagues and business coaches can be. These people can provide a helpful sounding board to enable you to come up with solutions. Once you’ve put a plan in place they can also help to hold you accountable to it!

You may find that you need more specific assistance. If your issue is related to a particular area of your business, it can be a huge relief to work with a professional who can take some of the pressure off. The money you invest in working with an accountant or sales coach could result in a much healthier and more profitable business moving forwards.

The most important thing to remember when you have an issue in your business is that discovering the true cause will be the most effective way to solve it.

Blaming outside influences may feel easier, but papering over small cracks with easy fixes undoubtedly leads to bigger cracks in the long run. The time you spend now discovering the root of those issues will enable to you build a much stronger and healthier business.

You can learn more about Green Shoots Coaching on their website.