A man on a staircase facing the other way of the camera

Who’s advising you? In a corporate business there is never just one boss. There’s the CEO, an executive team and a board. But in a small to medium sized business there is often just one: the business owner. The business owner is in many cases alone at the top and goes unchallenged. The result is often one dimensional thinking. The owner calls the shots and everyone follows. The result is a death of new ideas and a lack of challenging thinking. No wonder many of these businesses are stuck in a rut.

I have recently been exposed to a few “stuck” businesses. One particular business was evidently not going anywhere when, after a two year break, I was invited back in to review their marketing and found the exact same issues, sat in the exact same broken chair. The only thing that changed was the business owner who had aged badly. Needless to say, the situation was upsetting.

A small business with few decision makers has one thing going for it: speed. You’ve got to move! Your biggest threat is inaction and stagnation which spell disaster. But when a business owner calls the shots on his own, day in, day out, and does not get unfiltered views from the outside, the risk is that the boat will just go round and round. That the movement does not result in progress!

A friend of mine who runs his own business has recently phoned me with an unusual request: he is assembling a team of 4 people to act as his board of advisers and asked if I would sit on it. I believe he is on to something. More entrepreneurs should do this. There is nothing as sad, and as desperate, as the lone business owner slogging it away day after day, without any real progress.

Who is advising you in your business? Who is on your board of advisers? Do you ever open the floor and ask for frank feedback?

If you are interested in “How to Measure your Marketing”, do join me for a short talk on Wednesday evening, 4 July, here in Johannesburg. Details here: https://secure.meetup.com/register/?ctx=ref