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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Does Your Business Suffer From Scotoma So Badly That Your Growth Has Slowed?

Scotoma, also known as "having a blind spot" is common in almost all business.

An example related to domestic life. Several years ago my wife and I stripped the wallpaper in our funny-shaped walkway of four doors between the sitting room, kitchen, dining room and toilet. We went to the DIY store at the weekend to choose some new paint and painted the walls a refreshing shade of green. Unfortunately the strip of wall above the dining room had a hole in it that we hadn't noticed. So I dashed out and got some filler to plug the hole. I put the paint away to give the filler a day to cure.

Unfortunately putting the paint away made me forget the little section of wall above the door that I hadn't painted yet.

That little bit of wall went unpainted for over 18 months. When a bulb blew in the walkway I was replacing it and looking upwards to make sure it went in properly. The light flicked on and I saw the nicely filled but unpainted section above the door.

I'd developed a blind spot regarding that unpainted strip. I'd become so used to it that it didn't even register anymore.

Blind spots in companies work exactly the same way. Although they can be slightly more complicated!

I had a client who was running a company manufacturing luxury beds. Their accountant had put one of his staff in to work as their financial controller until they could recruit one themselves. Unfortunately the controller required every request to spend money to come through her.

The nett result was that the business was not taking advantage of bulk buying for screws, glue and other commodity items.

Similarly if all the delivery vans were out and they had an urgent delivery the delivery staff had no budget to order a delivery van. That meant an urgent item went undelivered.

If the controller went on holiday and anything needed ordering the staff had to wait for the owner to get into the business to be able to order anything.

I hope that doesn't sound familiar.

The owner and other directors had a blind spot...

Some of the recommendations I made were

  1. to immediately institute call-off purchasing for commodity items

  2. To give the delivery team a budget and monitor its use

  3. To replace the controller with immediate effect

When I told the owner my findings it was like the blinkers had been pulled from his eyes. He said he now recollected other things that had been affected by the financial controller's reign.

Once he instituted my recommendations company morale shot-up and work began to get completed more smoothly and out to the client when promised.

Almost every single recommendation I made the owner, or the other directors, saw the benefits immediately.

But they all had a blind spot. They'd needed a fresh pair of eyes to see what they were overlooking.

Do you know if you've a blind spot? If your growth is slowing or has stopped don't use the excuse of "a saturated market", "not buying now", "it's the normal sales cycle" or "our product need refreshing".

Don't monkey around get someone in to review your business. Do it while business is slow!

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