This week I sent out an email to my team at the Fit Body Boot Camp Headquarters warning them about the dangers of a leaky ship.
“A small leak,” I told them, “can sink a big ship.”
It’s easy to compare the running of my companies to captaining a ship. Just as a captain must stay on course and control an entire crew of hundreds or even thousands, I have employees and businesses and multiple projects all operating at the same time. I must coordinate and give orders, I make tough decisions and steer my companies where I believe they should go.
So far we haven’t hit any icebergs, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t encountered issues, even sprung some leaks, so to speak.
And just as a small leak, left unchecked, can sink the biggest ship, small issues in my companies left unfixed can become disastrous. If I’m not extremely diligent leaks will spring up all over my companies, money will spill out from dozens of holes, production will collapse, and if this all goes on long enough I could lose everything.
And if such small issues can have a huge effect on my companies, think of how those very same issues might affect smaller businesses like a one-on-one personal training business or even a single Fit Body Boot Camp location.
In businesses likes these, or if we continue my metaphor, in ships of this size, a small leak is an even bigger threat.
Maybe you’re letting clients cancel on you last minute for free, after you have driven across town or rented a space to train. Maybe your employees show up late every other day or aren’t working as hard as you expect and demand. Perhaps you’ve given up on maintaining your email list and now you aren’t getting any new customers signing up for your Boot Camps. Whatever the issue, even if it seems small, will eventually cause major problems.
So what should our response be? How should we deal with our little leaks?
Oftentimes, to repair a leak a captain must sail off-course, find a port that can repair his hull, and delay his voyage while repairs are performed.
And other times, a captain might decide to stay on course, complete his voyage, and instead of plugging the leak he merely runs his pumps day and night to keep the ship from going under.
And, again, it’s the same for us as business people and fitness experts.
Lets say, for instance, the squeeze page for your online information product has a noticeable mistake in the copy that most people don’t notice. But those who do notice definitely won’t opt-in to your list. It might not be worth it to take the page down on the day of the launch. The time it takes you to fix the issue will lose many more clients than the two or three that see the error and decide not to opt-in.
But what about a month later?
You’re still using that squeeze page; your ladder of ascension is still entirely dependent on this crucial step in your marketing funnel. And maybe the twenty prospects that quit because of the error didn’t matter when compared to the thousands who signed up during the launch, but now it’s weeks later and twenty prospects have been lost each day. How many hundreds have you lost over time because you never fixed the issue?
Enough to make the venture fail?
Enough to capsize your ship?
Let’s look at another example.
Imagine you are running your Fit Body Boot Camp and one of your employees consistently performs poorly. It’s a problem, it’s costing your money, but this person is your friend and instead of addressing the issue and demanding quality work, you personally pick up the slack.
So now, you’re doing work that isn’t in your 5%, you’re not completing tasks that are more important, and you are paying someone for work they are not doing.
You’re little leak just turned into a flood and if this starts to happen with multiple employees, you’re gunna sink.
So what should we do to identify and solve little problems that can cause huge disasters? What strategies should we as captains use to avoid leaks or fix them?
– First and foremost, we need to make sure we surround ourselves, both in life and in business, with individuals that contribute to, rather than reduce, our throughput. Even the most unwavering individuals are somewhat influenced by those who surround them— negative energy as well as poor productivity can be detrimental to any aspect of your life. Pay attention to those who influence you and don’t allow them to spring any leaks in your ship.
– You have got to keep an eye on your money. The bigger your business gets and the more money it makes, the more money it will spend. Before you realize it, there will be dozens of bills, subscriptions, and expenses pushing and pulling your money in every direction. It’s within this complicated web of transactions where you can easily begin to leak money. So stay on top of it, keep it organized, and always know exactly where your cash is flowing.
– As time passes, procedures become dated, needs change, and what worked in the past might not be what’s best for the present (or the future). Whether it be a product that is no longer relevant or a business model that is no longer proficient, don’t allow laziness or business to keep you form updating, revamping, and sealing up leaks that have developed over time. I am regularly pulling old products, updating new websites, and cutting out whatever outdated things, processes, or even people that are holding me back.
– Your technical assets, whether they be websites, emails, programs, or online products, are the easiest places to develop costly leaks. These complex, interconnected, and complicated processes, whether they are new or old, can easily develop multiple leaks. A friend of mine just had a huge product launch that utterly failed because of a technical issue with his website shopping cart. What should have been a massive success ended up become a costly failure so keep a trained eye on these technical issues and make sure they are operating as efficiently as possible.
These are just a few of the places where our businesses can develop leaks and only some of the strategies I use to plug these leaks, but it should give you an idea of what the process looks like.
If you keep a keen eye on all aspects of your business, whether it is yours or a trusted employee’s, you will see the warning signs of a leak and should be able to patch it up before you and your business sink.
Committed to your success,