Over time, the appearance of any business can deteriorate, often without the owners or managers being aware of it. Whenever you go to the same place day after day, changes occur but they are less obvious than if they occurred overnight.
It’s like looking at a photograph of yourself now and comparing it to one taken ten years ago. Sadly there will be a few more lines, possibly a few more pounds and for us blokes, a little less hair. If you woke up and saw that these changes had occurred overnight, you would rush to your doctor to find out what life-threatening illness you had suddenly developed.
Exactly the same changes can occur in your business. The day you open the doors the business is sparkling, the uniforms are fresh, the company cars look smart and everyone has a bounce in their step. Over the space of a few years, however, the premises can become run-down, the uniforms fade, the company cars become dented and old, and the signage and carpets deteriorate, giving the whole business a run-down appearance.
Stop for a few minutes and take a good look at your business. Be objective. Think back to the day you opened your doors. How does it compare today with when you started? Are there areas that could be improved?
Remember to that these days fatigue can creep into other aspects of our business, like our websites. An out of date, poorly maintained website sends just as bad a message as a run down premises.
Customers like to see that a business is staying current and fresh. It shows a commitment to customer service that will pay for itself many times over.
Just as there are physical elements to a business that can show signs of fatigue, business owners themselves often show the greatest signs of fatigue. Burn out it is a real problem in the business world. It seems to me that that behind every worn out looking business, there is a worn out looking business owner.
I strongly believe that we need to manage our main asset – which is of course ourselves. We need to take breaks, we need to be healthy, we need to have regular holidays. But of course there is never a good time or enough money to have a holiday, or enough hours in the day to take a break or enough time to stop and get a healthy meal. The problem is that if we don’t address these issues, they eventually catch up with us and cause major problems.
I always advise my clients to make a list of the reasons why they can’t take a holiday. The longer the list of reasons the more important it is that they have a holiday. This is a big topic, in fact I wrote a book about it, “101 ways to have a business and a life” – because I struggled so badly with stress, burn out and fatigue from working crazy hours in my business.