Headache, nausea, stomach cramps, chest pain, dizziness, diarrhea, vomiting, fever and gas. Not to mention the rarer side effects of a common heartburn medication. Side effects occur because everything in your body is connected. It’s almost impossible to address any one issue in isolation because every part affects another.
Your business is similar. It works like a living organism. Nothing happens in isolation. Every part affects the rest.
As a small business owner, you understand this best. But despite knowing this, do you still try to address issues in isolation? If sales are low, do you simply try to increase advertising? When you get complaints that employees are serving your customers poorly, do you simply chastise employees?
I get it - we like the fastest, easiest way. Which is why we take drugs even when they have side effects. Get sick, take pills. It’s an easy formula. But that doesn’t mean it’s the best. Plus you risk incurring side effects worse than the initial ailment.
When all we think about is addressing the urgent, short-term issues (Sales are low! Customers are angry!), we aim to fix them as fast and easy as possible. But you risk the side effects. If you choose to simply pour money into advertising when sales are low without considering other factors, you may incur the following side effects - low return on advertising investment, higher customer complaints due to unaddressed product issues, loss of credibility and poorer culture. If you choose to chastise employees for customer complaints without listening to employees' concerns, you may incur the following side effects - poorer culture, low performance in the long-term, bad marketing and higher turnover.
However, when we think of our businesses as organisms, we aim to make them healthy all-around. We see a problem as a symptom of an underlying issue in the business. We then seek to address the issue at its core and restore the all-around health of our organization.
Instead of taking that heartburn treatment pill, maybe that means now you have to stop eating dairy. Instead of pouring money into advertising, you'll need to investigate to find a cause of low sales. Instead of chastising your employees, you'll need listen to employees' criticisms and address their concerns.
It isn’t easy to treat your business as an organism, but it is the best way.
You didn’t start your business because it was the easy way anyhow. You started it because you wanted to better the world with your ideas. Continue to better the world by understanding your business is like an organism and caring for it as such. It's work, but it's worth sparing your business of the side effects.