February 17th, 2014 by ~ 2 Comments

Blame it on the economy?

empty restaurant

Dear Entrepreneur,

It’s been a long winter this year.  You know it’s been rough when it hits 40 degrees and you think it’s a good day to grill out.  Thankfully seasons come and seasons go.  The sun always comes up.  Spring always arrives, with Hope tagging right along behind it.

Winter is always a tough season in our business.  The wind and cold keep people away and there is nothing you can do about it.  And when business is slow like this, it’s easy to fall into a slump of blame and complaint instead of thinking creatively about what you can do to change things up.  Opportunity lies around every corner.  The wise leader is always seeking it.

One man’s bane is another man’s boon.  Heavy snowfall slows traffic, but it’s great for the snow removal business.  High gasoline prices usually translate into better bike sales.  Business ebbs and flows with seasons and situations.  Keep your eyes looking ahead for solutions, not merely at the problems at hand.

There has been a recent rash of food business closings in my city as of late.  It’s always sad to see any endeavor go under.  No one goes into business to fail.  But when they do, we always want to speculate the reasons why.

The first thing you often hear is to blame it on the economy.  And while it’s true the recession of the last few years has changed the way people spend money, if you are sitting around waiting for economic conditions to recover, you’re missing a very important lesson:

When identifying problems with your business, first look in the mirror.

This is true in any relationship, personal as well as business.  Take the log out of your own eye before removing the speck from your neighbor.  I must examine ways I might be bringing my own business down with a worse effect than the economy.

If you ever watch Bar Rescue or Restaurant Impossible, the formula for every episode is the same.  It always comes back to ownership and leadership.  The host spends the bulk of their time trying to convince the owners that they are part of the problem.

This is not to say that economic factors don’t play into the demise of a business.  Blockbuster Video watched a medium of entertainment change right before their very eyes. No one needs to go to a brick and mortar store anymore to pick up a physical disc to watch a movie.  But just like the railroad industry a century ago failed to see themselves in the transportation business rather than the railroad business, folks still want to watch movies. How they watch those movies is now up for discussion.

If I don’t give people a compelling reason to buy my product, I will fail. It’s my fault. I take the blame.

2 Responses

  1. Well said Kevin. I’ve always believed that if I fail, it is my fault.
    Carry on ~ Grace

  2. Ted says:

    You guys have the best cocktails in Lincoln (and really yummy food to follow). So don’t fail. (And carry on.)