July 13, 2014

Good Intentions

My mama always told me that “the road to h___ was paved with good intentions”. When anyone starts a business or joins a new company as an employee at any level, they always have the best intentions of bringing their best each and every day to the situation. What happens?

They may start a business with the goal of providing a great product or service at the best, most reasonable price. They may intend to provide great customer service, doing all that they can to keep the customer satisfied. They may want the best employees, better trained, better paid, and happier in their jobs than anyone else. They may even have dreams of a great company name, logo, and image.

What happens? They get caught up in business. Right from the start they get going without a business plan; they spend money, maybe on a franchise, or on furniture or an office, that they should not spend. They don’t research their business name or logo; they make up a business name that no one can pronounce or spell. They lose their vision of customer service, and they lose sight of how to train or treat their employees.

They may even stray away from the product or service that they know so well for something that they think will be easy to sell. They lose their “why”, the driving motivation for why they wanted to start a business in the first place. They forget that, no matter what your business, it must be easy for your customers to do business with you, and you must have an offering for which people will happily pay you a reasonable price.

As an employee, you should be able to work in a business that provides self-satisfaction, making you glad that you go to work every day. You should “be a part of the business”, helping build something in return for the salary, and knowledge, that you gain. If you do not grow and contribute, you are another piece of furniture, to be replaced by a more efficient one. As you grow, both personally and as a contributor, you should be nurtured as a valuable asset of the business.

Maybe the business person vowed to learn to market, but didn’t realize that marketing is also about learning. Their vision is clouded by their pre-conceived notions about their product or service, how it is perceived by the public, how it should be priced, or even how it should be marketed. Maybe they are misled as to how to deal with others, selling first instead of building relationships. Perhaps staying alive through sales becomes more important than building a business reputation and network.

Does any of this sound familiar? Have you fallen into any, or all, of these traps? It is not hard to look back and discover that we may have strayed away from our good intentions, from our dreams, no matter how strong they were, no matter how we vowed that we would not make those mistakes that we have seen in others. Is it impossible to change, or do we just keep on trying to shift efforts from one area to another, trying to bail out the sinking boat, trying to hold off the flood?

I believe that it is never too late to fix anything. We must reach out for help. Would you do brain surgery on yourself, by yourself? Of course not; you would try to locate a specialist who knows what they are doing. The same can be said for saving a business. It may be simple fixes, and the longest journey starts with a single step. That first step might just be finding a networking partner who can give you some free advice or refer you to someone who could be a professional resource.

Please leave me your comments, or email me at Jim@JimTeasley.com, or call me at 360-314-8691. When you find the road that was paved with good intentions to be a series of potholes and you are on the way to ruin, try asking one of your networking partners for help. They may be able to guide you back towards the light of success. Remember that they also may have been where you are.

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