Every business owner encounters situations where they feel powerless, overwhelmed, or simply confused; whether it is an unpleasant interaction with a team member, bad sales numbers, or looking at the possibility of having to shut down the business. When these circumstances occur, the most natural reaction is to find someone or something on which to place the blame. Yet, when that type of response is used, the power for changing the state of affairs is given away. The reality of every situation is that for every effect there is a cause, and if you keep following the effects backward, you will eventually find the cause for which you have power and can make a change.
In my book “EVOLVE -Look Within Yourself for Business Success“, I described cause and effect as follows:
Cause is what makes something happen; effect is what happens. If you choose to be optimistic, that is the cause. The positive impact it has on your life is the effect. It’s important to understand that every choice you make has an effect – some are short-term and some end up being long-term. By understanding this, you are able to consciously stay on the cause side of the equation of life, which gives you the power and ability to change your environment and your life. Our thoughts cause us to act, and our actions are the causes that manifest into our life and our business.
If you choose to be on the ‘effect’ side, you are accepting that your life is controlled by external forces, environments, and people. You are surrendering your control to others. You begin to make excuses and reasons why things aren’t happening for you – people won’t buy your product because the price is too high, there’s no business because nobody has any cash to spend, we’ve been cursed because every time we seem to move ahead in our business, there’s somebody there waiting to knock us – and the list goes on and on. These are all external influences. You’ve handed control over to other people. Eliminate excuses from your life completely. They don’t exist. Not everybody in the world thinks your product is priced too high. Not everybody in the world has no money to spend. You haven’t been cursed, you’ve cursed yourself.
By choosing to be on the ’cause’ side of things, you take control over your own life and what you want showing up. The rich and successful believe that they themselves create their life, whereas many of the poor believe they are a victim of their circumstances. They blame other people and circumstances for their situation, and they try to justify why they are where they are. You must take responsibility for everything in your life. I mean everything in your life.
If your life isn’t showing up as you would like it, then it’s your responsibility to go change it. Sometimes, it may be hard and really tough to accomplish, but how much do you want it? What are you making a higher priority? By taking responsibility and being on the cause side of your life, you then have the power to do something about your life that will change the effect.
We all have a life story to tell. How our parents didn’t love you, or we lost a job, or we weren’t born into a rich family. Whatever it is, we have to get over it. It was probably the best thing that could have happened to you. Now you know what that experience is like, you don’t have to experience it again. Life is about gaining experiences.
Choose to be on the cause side of the life equation and give yourself that power to have control over your own destiny. What are you going to do differently from this day forward? If you could change one thing, what would it be? What’s stopping you from achieving what you want? You are the only one stopping yourself.
Now that you have a better understanding of cause and effect and where your power lies in the process, let’s look at a particular situation. For instance, let’s say you are facing the decision of whether or not to close your business.
If you are responding from the ‘effect’ side of the equation, you feel powerless and are blaming the economy. In that situation, you have given your power away and without the mental and emotional power to look for and make the changes that are needed, you most likely will end up closing your business.
However, if you make the choice to approach the situation from a ’cause’ perspective, you can start with what you know and keep following those ‘effects’ backward until you find a spot at which you can make a change.
Using the scenario of looking at the possibility of having to close your business, let’s follow this possible situation backwards:
Business is failing, why…
There is insufficient profit to keep it running, why…
The insufficient profit is because of poor sales
If you look closely, there is opportunity in every one of those instances, to respond from the ’cause’ side, make some decisions and do things differently:
Business is failing
– Instead of just accepting that fact, you can decide to look closely at all of the circumstances around the failing business to find out what you can do differently to alter the circumstances. What can you do to improve the product or service you provide?
There is insufficient profit to keep it running
– Profit consists of income and expenses. If you are responding from the ’cause’ approach, you could closely examine not only your streams of income to see how they can be bettered but also your expenses to see where they can be minimised until your income streams are improved. For instance, if you rent or lease a space, in this economy are there better choices you can make in that regard?
The insufficient profit is because of poor sales
– What activities are you doing to generate business? Turnover is made up of a simple formula; the number of leads you receive x your conversation rate of those leads x the price you charge. What aspect is your turnover falling down on?
Ultimately when you bring everything back to the reason or ’cause’ you will be presented with an action that you need to take. You’re not getting enough leads?well then what marketing activities are you doing to generate leads? You don’t know what marketing activities you should be doing? Then who have you asked for help in this area? But I can’t afford to get help! So you can’t afford to get help but you’re willing to see your business fail! Or you know you need to make sales calls but you do everything else to avoid making the calls.
All this may seem harsh but everything comes down to an action that we ourselves need to take. This action will either inspire you to move forward and grow your business or it can halt you in your tracks. Why? Because we all have fears. A fear of making sales calls, a fear of feeling like a fraud, a fear of failure, a fear of rejection… But there’s always a way. If you don’t know how to do something, then it’s a case of learning how to do it or getting someone to help you do what you need to do.
Businesses don’t have to fail. Yes they have to change the way they do things but with the right knowledge and tools you can succeed. If you’re trying to maintain your business level and are nervous about how to improve it, then ask yourself what side are you standing on – the cause side or the effect side.
If you’re on the effect side, make the decision today to take control of your destiny and move to the cause side of things. If you’re on the cause side and you don’t know what to do with your business to improve it, ask yourself what is needed to improve the level of business I have. Is it increasing the number of leads you receive / footfall, improving your conversion rate, or improving your pricing?
But why not improve all three? A small improvement in all three areas will have an exponential affect on your bottom line. Then ask yourself what do you need to do to improve each area – what is the action you need to take?
There is always a way forward. There is always a way out. There is always a way you can reach the dream you want to achieve. Start today by taking that action and I wish you every success.
Paul Davis is the author of “EVOLVE – Look Within Yourself for Business Success” which is available from Amazon and all good bookstores. Visit www.thebookevolve.com for more details. You will find more information and free business resources at davisbusinessconsultants.com.