Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Oh No - Not Another Vacation!

Over the years my management team has come to dread my extended trips away from the office. And it's not because they necessarily need or want me at work. It has to do with what happens when I come back. You see, I’m one of those people who has learned how to relax on vacation. And when I business imagination runs wild!

Consequently I return to work filled with new ideas for the business, all of which seem like brilliant concepts at the time. Back at the office, I tend to wander the halls, looking for someone to share my ideas with. (My staff, meanwhile, has become very good at hiding.)

Of course I am exaggerating (sort of) since many of my ideas have contributed directly to the success of Foundation Software. But the truth is: change is always happening in business. And if you are proactive in making change, your chances for success in business will increase dramatically. Unfortunately, most business owners get set in their ways and business stagnates.

Quite often it takes a crisis to force a change. I have seen over the years, for example, many a contractor who is turned down for bonding due to inadequate financial reporting. My company gets a call, the contractor gets new accounting software, and guess what? The change ends up creating unexpected improvements and opportunities.

Not only does this contractor have the necessary reporting for bonding purposes, but they also discover that job costing is timely and accurate. They can now spot trends on jobs early in the process. Billings get out on time. Change orders are processed efficiently. Payroll gets out quickly and feeds directly into job cost. And all of this is done in a fraction of the time that it once took on their old accounting system.

But why must it take a crisis for many of us to change? Maybe change would happen earlier if every business owner would simply take the time (a vacation perhaps?) to relax and think. Let your ideas flow in a free form fashion, and try to imagine a crisis before it happens. What changes could you have prevented the crisis in the first place? What can you do better, faster, smarter or easier? What are your competitors doing? Talk with your the trade journals...and read books. Finally, let go of old habits. Let your mind go (and your spirit flow) so that you can embrace the potential in your business. Sound a little too Zen-like for you? Well moving from status-quo to proactive in order to bring positive change to your business first requires a mental change. (Taking a vacation from work doesn’t hurt either.)


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