What’s your pinch point? What one thing is currently holding your business back from success?
Every business has at least one. Some people call it a constraint or a hurdle. In manufacturing we use the term bottleneck to describe something in our process that holds us back from reaching our goal.
So what’s your pinch point?
- High turnover?
- Low Margins?
- Mediocre Cash Flow?
All of those are evidences of your pinch point, but they aren’t the real problem.
Like the ice berg analogy, there’s what we see on the surface and then there’s what really exists beneath the surface.
If I were to ask 100 business owners what their pinch point is today, my experiential guess is that 85 of them would say it’s money. And at least 84.9 of them would be wrong.
-Money isn’t your pinch point, but your financials can point to the root cause.
-Turnover isn’t your problem, but it may be the red flag of bad management or a toxic culture.
-Poor margins aren’t the cause, but rather a symptom of poor processes.
How do you find your pinch point? Look and your numbers and then dive deeper. Numbers, when accurate, don’t lie. They tell the story of what’s really going on in your business.
Your job, and mine, is to listen to what the numbers are telling us. Our numbers direct us to the effects of our business pinch points, which can lead us to the source. Then we can get underneath them with dynamite in hand and blow open the narrow passage that is holding your business back.
Stop wasting your time looking on the surface. Get deep and commit to working on what matters.
[Tweet “Time spent on issues that aren’t pinch points is like chipping at an iceberg with a toothpick.”]
In his book, The Goal, Goldratt & Cox get to the bottom of an under-performing manufacturer by finding the bottlenecks in their production process. Here’s what he had to say about it,
“An hour saved at the non-bottleneck is a mirage.” -Eliyahu M Goldratt
Don’t waste your time on mirages.
How can you find and fix your pinch points? Let’s look at a few scenarios:
If you think your pinch point in your low margins, look at your direct costs. Have they gone up or down? Are you finish jobs on time or dragging them out to a time/cost point that is unsustainable? Are you competitively sourcing? Has time run amok and cost your job too much?
Then you don’t have a margin pinch point, you have a process pinch point.
When processes are integrated, controlled, and measurable they can have an enormous impact on your margins. “We already have processes in place, T.J.”. Fine, but are they optimal? When is the last time your re-vamped them to accommodate changes in product and environment? Just because you’ve always done things a certain way doesn’t mean it’s the best way to do them, and having too many processes and that becomes as big of a problem as having ineffective ones.
That’s why I help businesses overhaul their processes, it attacking the point point at it’s source.
High Turnover Costs:
People are coming and going like ants at a picnic. No one seems to stay long enough, and your tired of constantly hiring and training new employees. The cost is draining your resources. You think that’s your pinch point, but it’s not. People don’t quit a job, they quit a manager, or a culture. Finding and fixing your pinch point in this scenario may prove a little painful.
It may require some re-training or replacement of your management staff. It may require a look in the mirror. It may require an investment of time and resources to build a company culture where people have a hard time leaving.
High turnover is costly. But ignoring the root cause of it could cost you your business. If it’s a management issue, fix it. If it’s a culture issue, fix it. Both are pinch points that you can’t afford to ignore.
See how that works?
Finding and fixing your business pinch points doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time and often an outsider’s viewpoint to find and help fix those pinch points. Sometimes you are too close to the trees to see the forest.
Take a step back, to get a better view, enlist the help of an advisory board, become a part of a peer group that can give the “outside looking in” perspective, or you can contact me.
That’s part of what I do, it’s my calling and my passion to help people and businesses break past those things that are holding them back and propel them into their future potential.
Whatever help you choose, get on it. Time is wasting and your business pinch points won’t go away on their own, in fact they only grow bigger over time.
What about you?
What do you think is your business pinch point?
What pinch points have you fixed in the past and how did you do it?
Want to ask me a question about your pinch point? Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org, I’d be glad to help.
Tenaya (T.J.) Tison is a business leader and entrepreneur who is passionate about propelling others in their work & faith potential, by strategically directing them in business + work; and in full-faith living. Find out what T.J. does here. Follow T.J. on Twitter. Invite TJ to speak.