Last week at a social event a certain lady held my hand and said, “Murori, I seriously need your advice. I have been in business for a number of years but I cannot tell where my money goes. I work hard and my business is not growing and I am not getting any better financially.”
I could read frustration and despair on her face. We were in a party where she was supposed to enjoy and make merry, but apparently her mind was on a business that seemed to be on a treadmill.
I promised to give her one book that I have read more than three times this year by David Abbott: The Manager and The Red Queen’s Race: How to Stop Working Very Hard and Staying Stuck in the Same Place.
It is a purely strategy, thought-provoking and inspiring book that I find very insightful and often recommend to business owners and managers.
The title of the book is derived from a phenomenon called the Red Queen’s Race, a fiction classic story from Lewis Carroll’s book, Through the Looking-Glass.
In this fiction Alice meets the Red Queen and they began to run together. Alice was surprised that no matter how fast they ran, they always seemed to stay in the same place: “Well, in our country,” said Alice, still panting a little, “you’d generally get to somewhere else — if you run very fast for a long time, as we’ve been doing.”
“A slow sort of country!” said the Queen. “Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!”
Most business owners and managers are apparently in this situation. I too, have been there and many of successful people I know have walked this path. It is a very discouraging period where you work hard, you do everything possible but you don’t seem to grow.
Breaking even, maintaining your market share, or even keeping your business afloat is a daily struggle year in year out. You seem to be working hard to stay in the same place.
David Abbott, one of the leading researcher and a consultant on business strategy, gives practical tips on how you can avoid the Red Queen’s race phenomenon in your business and in your life by having a strategy.
I desired this lady to read this transformative book first before having any discussion with me on her predicament, which incidentally is what plagues most people so that she can look at herself first in a ‘mirror’ and probably know what is wrong with her business model.
An old man once told me that when you look at your face in the mirror and see how awful it looks, you don’t break the mirror, you work on your face. When people tell you how ugly you look, it is possible to blame them for bias. A mirror tells it all without bias.
David Abbot has provided a realistic mirror that business owners and managers can view their businesses objectively and see systems that needs to be fixed so that they can move forward.
Henry Ford once said, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.” If you want to get something you have never got before, you must do something you have never done before.
If you find yourself working very hard and staying stuck in the same place in your business, career or whatever is your occupation, increasing intensity of work is not a solution. The solution is to stop and develop a strategy that works.
Mr Kiunga is a business trainer and the author of The Entrepreneurial Journey: From Employment to Business Murorikiunga@yahoo.com
This article was first published in Business Daily