If your business is going through a rough patch, you know some changes must be made. Whether you’re struggling with cash flow, personnel, processes, shipping, vendors, or another issue, it’s important to take proactive steps to improve.
Businesses struggle for many reasons, and it’s often difficult to pinpoint the exact cause. However, according to RidgelinePartners, an organization that helps businesses be the best they can be, it’s likely due to internal issues.
“…the greatest challenges organizations face do not originate from an external threat, rather they stem from internal sources,” they say. “These internal conflicts can greatly hinder an organization’s ability to align, adapt and respond to obstacles as they inevitably arise.”
“Internal misalignments and resistance ultimately lead to a failure to meet tactical and strategic objectives,” they continue. “In some instances, internal challenges are very clearly linked to identifiable causes while others, unfortunately, are less obvious to pinpoint.”
As Abraham Lincoln famously said, “A house divided cannot stand.” This is true for the nation as well as for your business. Here are four internal concerns you should address if your business is struggling:
- Communication Errors
A lot of problems, both socially and in the workplace, could be fixed people could simply learn to communicate with each other. Businesses often struggle with communication, which can create collaborative problems.
“Poor communication is often at the heart of business failures,” says Rae Steinbach of Integrify. “Mostly we take communication for granted and don’t wonder if our methods of communicating with colleagues and customers are effective – at least until something goes wrong. This is bad for business and can easily be avoided if you know where to start and how to give communication within your company the momentum needed to keep it flowing smoothly.”
Tackle your biggest communication errors. Poll employees separately to discover what they believe the biggest communication faux pas is. After you’ve identified the problem, use tools, resources, and collaboration to resolve it.
Does your workplace schedule so many meetings and events that your employees don’t have enough time to actually work? Collaboration is important, but it should never get in the way of real productivity.
While you’re unscheduling some meetings, put an important one on your schedule at least once per month. The purpose of this meeting is identifying key internal issues and resolving them.
“You’re busy. Your staff members are busy. Still, it’s critical to schedule time each and every week to delve into the core issues confronting your company,” says Chris Hallberg of TractionInc. “Book this as a mandatory meeting, and make sure team members understand that it’s not optional. Don’t make excuses for skipping this meeting; it’s just as important as client and sales meetings.”
- Dysfunctional Leadership
According to Bruce Eckfeldt, founder and CEO of a business consulting firm, dysfunctional or non-existent leadership is the crux of many companies’ problems.
“I find that the leadership team is not functioning well, if there is one at all,” he says in his article for Inc.com. “While a visionary Founder is needed to get the company off the ground and a great CEO is needed to lead the growth, without a solid team of key executives to head up the various functions, a company will quickly reach a growth ceiling.”
He recommends developing a leadership team that can keep the CEO’s vision going. It involves pulling from your top talent, setting clear goals, acquiring real talent, and keeping your eye on development.
- Unfamiliarity with Your Mission
Many organizations are full of employees who have lost the mission statement of the company. They may complete their day-to-day tasks just fine, but when it comes to working toward the big picture, they’re clueless.
Getting employees to be more familiar with your mission starts with management. They have to be willing to get their hands dirty as an example to employees who should do the same.
“Managers should be familiar with all products and services and take the time to experience what the customer experiences,” says Patricia Lotich of ThrivingSmallBusiness. “So whether it is observing the printing press and checking the quality of a finished print job or sampling the food in a restaurant, senior level managers should know exactly what the customer experiences so they can help facilitate improvement opportunities.”
Internal issues plague businesses everywhere, but they don’t have to shut you down. As you identify and resolve these internal issues, your business will only get stronger. It’s amazing what a united organization can do in terms of growth and financial stability.