We all have bandages, whether it’s in business or life itself, and at some point you reach a stage where there is a constraint that’s holding you back.
Things in your company may be coming along just fine, but you’ll never be able to fulfill your company’s potential by keeping things as is.
Sometimes, you get lucky and the constraint is removed for you. For example, maybe that business partner you’re at odds with decides to move to South America to do something completely unrelated. At other times, you have to make the difficult decision, like getting rid of that business partner who won’t leave voluntarily. Think of this like ripping off a bandage.
I’ve learned a lot by trial and error and have found my business stuck at various times largely because of my own doing, or lack thereof. In the not-too-distant past, I had my bandage ripped off for me, and after the brief initial pain, it helped me take my business to the next level.
For a long time, my primary method of drumming up business had been flying around the country to speak to affinity group gatherings of eight to ten people. I enjoyed the closer personal contact and cultivated a fair number of clients, but it wasn’t an efficient use of my time.
A disagreement with the affinity group led to the termination of our relationship, which was stressful. Yet ultimately, they did me a favor.
I’m now able to book much larger groups– usually around 75 people a pop. Yes, I’m still flying around the country, but I’m putting myself in front of many more potential clients. And, in a sense, that’s my new constraint, as there are only so many hours in a day.
My response to that constraint? I’m contemplating an online learning platform that would diminish my frequent flier miles, but give me much more time to work on other aspects of the business.
Remember, that after you remove one constraint, another will ultimately emerge, or there might be lesser constraints that become more problematic. You might even be dealing with constantly moving targets.
And looking back, ditching the affinity group was far from the first constraint I’ve tackled. In my company’s early days, I thought our biggest need was more clients (and it certainly was a need), but it was more important that we got better at our main services and keep the customers we did have happy.
I understand that status quo isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and it’s a comfort zone for a lot of entrepreneurs. Still, unless you’re 68 years old and looking for an exit strategy, you always need to be pushing forward with your business. That means if nobody rips off your bandage involuntarily, you’ll have to summon the guts to do it yourself.
One way to test-drive the bandage removal is a theoretical exercise where you’re banned from doing whatever the constraint might be. That forces you to consider the consequences and prompt you to react to them. How will that turn out?
In all probability, the exercise will show you that removing the constraints won’t be as painful as imagined.