The Art of Listening

Through the years I have worked with many small businesses.  In fact, I became known as the “entrepreneurs” accountant/consultant who put out “fires!”.   By that I mean how to overcome the daily challenges of running their business.  Entrepreneurs tend to shoot from the hip, run their business through their checkbook, increase their lines of credit and use that, or better yet, use their credit cards to survive.  This system doesn’t work very long and in fact gets the small business owner deeper in debt – sometimes even forcing them to go out of business.  How sad, especially after having invested all their savings, and hard earned money.  Unfortunately, this happens more often than not without a plan in place.  There is a well known business quote “if you fail to plan you plan to fail.”

So what am I suggesting? Write a business plan, absolutely, but equally as important is having systems and a management structure in place needed to grow a successful and profitable business. 

The E-Myth Revisited, by Michael Gerber tells about the entrepreneur, believing he is successful at his occupation deciding to open a business — but unbeknownst to him, he is not qualified to run a business. Being an expert in his/her own field doesn’t mean he is capable to do all the other jobs needed to build a business — thus, the business fails.

In order to start and grow a business requires listening, listening to a professional ie; business advisors, accountants, etc.  Unfortunately some business owners are resistant.

I recently worked with a wholesale food service company whom I advised to stay focused and expand his wholesale business.   He was only interested in opening a restaurant.  Looking at all the variables, I told him this was not a good business decision.  He did not listen to my recommendation and did a build out for a restaurant that ultimately failed. 

So whether you are struggling with issues of expansion, cash flow, disagreements with partners, or just the issues of running your business on a daily basis, listen to your professional and let him guide you down the path of success.

The art of listening – Do you need help?