Beware the quick fix

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Rough times make the quick fix enticing. Small businesses cut down on stock levels and disappoint customers. Product ranges are pruned until the customer has to look elsewhere – often seeking alternatives online. Marketing campaigns that don’t make sense eat away profits. Machinery and other assets like people are overworked and not maintained.

The quick fix is wrapped up in the allure of the golden egg. Stephen Covey cautions about the production mentality. People don’t want to look after, maintain and grow their productive assets and find themselves with diminishing returns.

Real change requires a paradigm shift. A movement away from the quick fix to a recognition that change can often be a slow, frustrating experience – but you have to stick to it. If you are into the short term, the quick fix looks enticing. Spend a little money, small amounts of effort and time and you’ll hit the jackpot.

To get a business started from the ground up, to change the course of a business, often takes much longer than you think. Entrepreneurs report that building a new business takes anything from 3 to 5 years. Sometimes, profits only begin to appear after the third year.

The real work begins when you analyse your situation and realise that it all starts with you and your mental attitudes. Mental attitudes and behaviour are based on values.

What are your values? If you want your customers to trust you, you have to be trustworthy. If you want to be ethical in your business, then you need to demonstrate this value to employees, suppliers and customers.

Continuous disruption, and with more to come requires standing back and reassessing your options and building for the long term rather than going for the quick fix.

Look around at the businesses that are growing in these difficult economic circumstances. Look at the real value that they are giving to their customers. Businesses with weak value propositions now will unfortunately disappear as many have already fallen in this economy.

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