The Forest For The Trees
It’s hard to tell the forest for the trees sometimes.
When I’m working with a client, the biggest challenge often is getting them to step back from the day-to-day to focus on the issues that brought them to me in the first place. They have become so tangled in the trees that they struggle to disengage long enough to focus on the forest. They are so buried in the details they are unable to step back to see the big picture.
In the terminology of the e-myth (which almost all of my clients mention when I raise this issue directly with them) they are spending so much of their time working at their business that they have little time, energy or attention-span for working on their business.
Let’s put it still another way. Many of my clients started their business because they had a passion for a specific activity, the products they sell or the customers they serve. That’s what they know, that’s what they’re most comfortable and familiar with. But success also requires that expertise be developed and attention paid to managing a fairly complicated business. This is where many have little previous experience, no matter how long they’ve been ‘running’ their business. It’s outside their comfort zone.
It’s a hard habit to break. It’s not that they don’t recognize the trap they’ve fallen into, it’s that they don’t know to break out of it. They instinctively sense that they need to become more skilled managers, but they don’t know where to start. When they start to feel that it’s catching up with them in some way, well, that’s when they call me.
Regardless of the specific work we’re doing, whether we’re working on assortment planning, or putting in an Open-to-Buy or developing a cash flow plan, we’re improving and increasing their business management capabilities so that they have the capacity and confidence to break out of the trees and focus on the forest. And in the time we work together, breaking out of the trees and focusing on the forest is often the thing we work hardest on.
If you’re struggling in amongst the trees, feeling like the forest is just beyond your grasp, recognize that this most likely means that you need help in developing further your business management capabilities. Whether you give me a call, or turn for help in some other direction, reach out. It might just be the most far-sighted decision you’ll ever make, and your business will be the better for it.