What My Wobbly Desk Has to Do With Your Business: A Lesson in The Importance of A Process
Can I share something a little ridiculous with you guys? I’m writing this post from a slightly wobbly desk. You’re probably thinking, “that’s great, D. Why are you telling us this, and why don’t you just fix it?” I promise there’s a point to this story.
It’s wobbly because it required some assembly post-purchase and let’s just say I decided to wing it.
Sound familiar? How hard could it really be - It’s a desk, not a spaceship, and I have a doctorate for crying out loud.
And here we are. Wobbling.
See - the manufacturer provided me with an instruction manual, parts and tools to do it right. Literally everything I needed to do it right the first time. I even had the option of hiring something to come to my house and do it for me. But of course, ego won.
Now are we sounding really familiar?
There’s a process to everything guys. Putting together a desk. Doing your makeup. Baking a cake. Running a business. If you follow the steps with the right tools - success! If you don’t - success can come, but at what cost and how much longer? Anyone ever tried to bake a cake with zero preparation or plan, missing a few ingredients, and zero recipe? Yup, you get where I’m going with this.
This week I want to break down a few limiting beliefs I’ve heard lately for winging it and trying to do it all yourself. We’re going to have a real chat about why PROCESS MATTERS, and why maybe, just maybe, you don’t want your BUSINESS to be like a wobbly desk. Ready to get honest with yourself? Let’s go!
Belief 1: I’m smart enough to open and run my own business. I can totally figure out how to negotiate a lease agreement/put together a license for my product/hire and pay contract workers/insert your business issue here.
Yes, you are smart and capable. You’re running a fitness business for goodness sake! But you choosing to ask for help is NOT an indication of your intelligence, or lack thereof. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
The smartest people I know, know to ask for help when they don’t know how to do something. They don’t wing it and potentially waste their time because they know their time is valuable, and it’s more efficient and cost-effective to let the experts solve the issue at hand.
NO ONE will think less of you for asking for help and not figuring it out yourself. You cannot put your sense of self worth in something so small as asking for help.
Incidentally, this lesson applies to LIFE as much as anything else.
Belief 2: I’m a small business owner and money is tight. It will be cheaper to just do it myself.
I have worked with and for Fortune 500 companies, solo owners and everyone in between. Not a single business has ever said, “D, I have so much money to throw around, so here take it all.” No, never, not once.
Money is always an issue. The companies that push back against my rates + pricing the most are those with the deepest pockets. No one wants to spend on anything but the absolute necessary.
But have you ever considered that having proper processes in your business (such as a Liability Waiver, state-law required Membership Agreement, insurance policy and Trainer Guidelines) is going to help your business run smoother from day one, there it IS the absolute necessary? That if you’re not willing to *invest* in the necessary, business won’t run smoothly, safely, cost-efficient, or at all?
Money will always be limited, but the good news is this: you can always make more money! You can never make more time, you can never go back in time and undo a bad deal, you can never unbake that cake.
Worst, you might dig yourself in such a hole trying to DIY your business strategies that it’s going to cost 2-3x to unwind your actions.
Belief 3: I’m not going to deal with ___ issue right now because it’s not the most important/pressing thing going on. I’ll get to it later.
I recently spoke with a good friend about her bad experience at one of my favorite studios. I was irritated because the support staff and management treated her so poorly when the bad experience was very clearly their fault, and it could have been avoided.
Coming from a background in hospitality, she told me that oftentimes management would spend their time running around putting out (metaphorical) fires, so much that they couldn’t get past the immediate issue to fix + solve the underlying issue. That really spoke to me.
Let’s talk about one of my favorite topics: Late Cancels. I know I don’t need to explain in depth why late cancellations are bad for business, but did you know that at least half of the people reading this blog right now do not have a late cancellation policy and/or fee in place? And of those who actually do, at least half of those people don’t enforce their own policies.
I’m willing to bet that of the 75% of you reading this right now who are failing to have or enforce your late cancellations, every single one of you has a story about a client irritating them for cancelling, or how much money they’ve lost out on with those cancellations.
So why haven’t you done anything about it?
Create studio policies, create a Client Agreement (as required by most state laws) explain booking and cancellations, include cancellation in any booking emails or studio signage?
It’s a really easy fix, but it requires (slight) confrontation and effort, for a topic that isn’t nearly as important as the fire you’re undoubtedly putting out today. And tomorrow. But eventually, you’ll be putting out a massive fire from a very unhappy client because you never got around to putting together this cancellation policy and procedure.
Moral of the story - taking the time to create policies ensures that bumps don’t form and create chaos in your business. It might not feel urgent or important because there will *always* be a bigger issue that needs your attention. But like a leak, or a crack, the problem will perpetuate and spread until you address the root cause.