Next time you are with a client ask what frustrations they have with their business. (Make sure you have at least an hour to spare after asking the question.)
Record the list of issues the client presents to you, without making too many comments other than what is necessary to keep the client talking. And certainly do not try and solve the problems then and there, you will not be able to.
Chances are each item on your list will fit within the categories listed below:
- Lack of capital for expansion
- Lack of sales
- Cash flow
- Slow paying customers
- Lack of skilled people
- Difficulty getting employees focused
- Price competition
- Lack of time to do what needs to be done
- Not enough customers
- Supplier problems
- Government regulations
- Production or operational problems
- State of the economy
- Technological issues
And for EVERY category above it would be possible for you to develop a checklist that addresses the core underlying reasons why the frustrations exist.
Take cash flow: Imagine you were sitting in front of a client who was experiencing cash flow difficulties. (Image sitting in front of one that was not!) What items would you start to put on a list to address a business with cash flow problems. I expect you start to ask questions surrounding working capital management, particularly stock levels and Accounts Receivable. Profitability would get a mention. As would dividend policy or drawings.
And each of area I mentioned would lead to other questions and items for your checklist. You can see how easy it would be to get into a conversation with the client about the core reasons creating the cash flow problem, a key step in arriving at an ultimate solution to the problem.
The essence of this approach is to focus your clients attention on what needs to be done to fix the problem rather than just worrying about the problem.
You might think the second to last item on the list above is something not easily dealt with by a system or checklist. If you do think that I refer you to the Foundation Course Speeding in a Slowdown. After you have taken that course you will have plenty of items add to a checklist!
Systems, and checklists within the systems, will help deal with all the frustrations your clients experience in business as a system works towards generating consistency of outcomes. And when outcomes are consistent, frustration is removed.