By Lindsey Tolino
IÂve had acne since 7th grade. ItÂs been 15 years now. By the second year of my struggle with acne, I learned to conceal it. I have bought countless bottles of concealer in 14 years. I have learned how to conceal my flaws well.
WeÂre taught to conceal. Not to admit our flaws, but to bury them under a mask. This is true of our businesses too. IÂve seen businesses try to conceal their flaws with social media campaigns, investing in more marketing and pouring energy into public relations, all trying to change public perception without resolving the underlying problems.
When you live with something for 15 years, you hardly even notice it. It becomes a part of life. But, every once and a while, the acne is painful.
Then I notice it.
I think about addressing it, maybe trying to resolve it. But once the pain subsides, I mostly go back to living with it.
Is it like this in your business?
If I stopped wearing makeup to conceal my acne, then IÂd have to face the reality that I have it and should do something to resolve it. This is what so many businesses need to do. We need to stop concealing our flaws. We need to stop blinding ourselves to the fact that employees are unhappy, that sales are lower than expected and that our businesses arenÂt as healthy as weÂd hoped.
But I canÂt just stop wearing concealer and say ÂI love this face of mine, pimples and all.Â Because I donÂt love it. I donÂt want to have broken, unhealthy skin.
We canÂt just stop concealing our business flaws and say ÂI love this business, high turnover and all.Â Because if weÂre honest, we donÂt love it.
We donÂt want to have broken, unhealthy businesses.
Our businesses arenÂt perfect, but we canÂt simply cover it with concealer and expect it to get better. We canÂt be content to blindly love them in all their imperfection. We need to care that things arenÂt healthy. We need to resolve core issues to make them healthier.
We need to do this if we want to have sustainable, profitable businesses.
So how do we resolve issues in our businesses instead of trying to conceal them?
1. Acknowledge that our businesses have flaws that are making them unhealthy.
This is often presented in a variety of symptoms such as high turnover, high customer complaints or a low number of repeat customers.
2. Investigate the flaws.
At this point, you have to resist the desire to simply treat the symptoms, because ultimately you want to cure the disease. You have to resist the urge to hurriedly pour money into marketing, to hire better salesman or to increase employee salaries. You have to investigate to make sure you understand the underlying cause of the symptoms. This may mean inviting honest conversations with your employees, scrutinizing finances and digging into your own thought process.
3. Decide how much you want to invest in resolving flaws in order to create a sustainable business.
This is an important step, not only to plan out what you’re able to invest, but also to intentionally move forward in resolving issues. When you’ve decided to set money and time aside to resolve an issue, it makes it easier to execute the plan.
4. Work to resolve the issue with what you decided to invest.
Don’t get discouraged in the process. Be persistent and do what you can with what you have.
5. Evaluate and repeat as needed.
Your consistent hard work to resolve issues at their core will benefit your business. When you stop trying to conceal flaws and invest in resolving core issues, you put your business on a healthier, more sustainable path.
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