How obvious insights can drive change and lead to a thriving business

Business owners often know the answers to overcoming the challenges they face, but must take action to succeed

Business owners often know the answers to overcoming the challenges they face, but taking action is vital to succeeding. Getty Images
Business owners often know the answers to overcoming the challenges they face, but taking action is vital to succeeding. Getty Images

My friend runs a struggling digital advertising studio in Bahrain. She offers her creative solutions to a handful of clients, so she’s always working with freelance videographers and photographers to meet their different requests.

But because she works only with top freelancers to ensure the quality of the work produced, her costs have been high and she hasn’t been able to meet her targeted revenue, especially during the pandemic with many businesses cutting down on their advertisement expenses.

The only way for her to save her business is to increase her revenue, and that means working with more clients.

While my friend is a genius when it comes to advertisements, she doesn’t like to market her business, which would ultimately increase sales.

“I just feel too embarrassed when it comes to me,” she told me. Having said that, she also knows that increasing sales will help her business thrive.

So, what did she do next? She ignored the obvious solution and focused on what she does best, enhancing her creative skills and hoping her clients would approach her instead of pitching work to them.

Her situation reminded me of another friend who always dreamed of becoming a writer. At almost every friends’ gathering, she would talk about her dream and the subjects she would cover and discuss.

But she hasn’t done anything about it. She never approached any media or publishing houses. She sporadically shares snippets of her work on her social media platform and believes this is enough as she waits for the day when an editor stumbles on her page and invites her to write for their publication.

Though this can happen sometimes – and I personally know writers who were approached by editors through their social media pages and have launched their writing careers as a result – more often than not, we need to be proactive.

Just like my friend and her sales dilemma, most of the time we already have the answers to our challenges. We know exactly what needs to be done and how to fix our situation, but we choose to ignore the truth and get caught up in other things that may not necessarily help us overcome our challenges.

Just like my friend and her sales dilemma, most of the time we already have the answers to our challenges

Manar Al Hinai

This applies to managing teams and how a manager can impact their team’s productivity. A colleague of mine was extremely overwhelmed with running her family’s real estate business, but she knew that hiring staff would help to take the load off her shoulders.

She hired four employees, all top students with impressive resumes. Two months later, she told me how she regrets hiring them and nothing has changed. The truth is that she was too caught up with her work and didn’t have time to personally walk them through their job roles. They didn’t have a proper road map or targets to achieve.

When I addressed that and told her that is where her problem lies, she told me that deep down she knew, but she was too busy and hoped that the issue would untie itself.

My father, a business expert, taught me an important lesson in business and that is to view matters objectively. When I ask him for advice on any business challenge, he said he’d always ask two questions: What is the exact problem? What do you think is the solution? That’s it. He doesn’t like going in circles and always cuts a story short.

If you’re struggling with revenue, focus on sales. If you want more people to discover your brand, invest in marketing. If your team isn’t motivated, spend more time with them. Provide a proper onboarding orientation, where the owner or manager walks them through everything they need to know.

The solutions are often simple. We know the answers to most business challenges, but we often have so much going on in our mind that it is clouding our thought process. With summer approaching, and many of us spending time at home, reflect on your goals. What’s standing in the way of achieving them?

Manar Al Hinai is an award-winning Emirati journalist and entrepreneur, who manages her marketing and communications company in Abu Dhabi.

Published: May 16, 2021 07:30 AM

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