The latest headline declares “Business closures surge by 200% as coronavirus hammers US economy, study finds.

We have all experienced a force majeure  (a cool word I heard a lawyer use the other day and thought I’d give it a shot with you here:) of sorts in the last couple of months that have provided a mixed bag of emotion.

Stress is the “pressure or tension imposed on an object.”  

Our families, our relationships, our society, and our businesses have endured stress seen and unseen.

Emotional stress.  

Spiritual stress.

Intellectual stress.

Relational stress.

If I may, for just a moment, expose a rare and valuable gift in the midst of this unexpected stress.  To be clear, I do not enjoy stress, but am trying to find hope and value in the midst of its sticky grip.

Recently I challenged a group of young men to a push up challenge.  Although not a contestant in the challenge, I nonetheless decided to test my middle-aged mettle and rep out a few…

Very slowly.

Wow…let’s just say I used to be able to do a lot more push ups, a lot faster.

I put manufactured stress on my arms and chest which revealed areas that I could choose to focus on and develop so they would become stronger.

Or I could ignore the feedback and continue to be exposed to the liability of weakening arm and chest muscles. 

The manufactured stress provided real-time, truthful, unbiased feedback.

No need to sign up for a year long CrossFit membership and grind it out 7 days a week just to find the weak areas of the body.  A simple push up exercise told me what I needed to know.

A small measure of manufactured stress.

Since that workout, I shored up the weakened muscles and now bench press over 600 pounds.

I’m teasing.  

Cardiologists do this all the time with their heart patients.  The patient is dressed with multiple electrode receivers allowing a machine to collect feedback while the body walks or runs on a treadmill.  

The manufactured stress of the treadmill exercise forces the body to react.  That reaction reveals areas of both strengths and weaknesses.

Now all the Cardiologist has to do is diagnose, prescribe, and prognose.  The patient is left with the long task of implementation.

Each of our businesses need to hop on a manufactured treadmill a couple of times per year to endure some light, controlled, manufactured stress.

As owners and coaches we must listen, diagnose, prescribe, prognose, and then implement…just like the Cardiologist.

Here are a few business treadmills that can be deployed for valuable feedback.

First, subdividing your bank accounts is a foundational element that will show you a real-time cash position in your business.  Most businesses we coach have at least five bank accounts they actively use to operate.

Next, an “ABC” dashboard (we call it a Level Two Dashboard) is vital to business life.  This is a simple spreadsheet updated once-per-week tracking three major areas of the business; (Cash) Accounts, Bookkeeping (Receivables, Payables, etc.), and Customers.

Of the hundreds of business owners we have seen implement these first two “stressors”, not one business owner has ever come back and said, “wow, I wish we had never done that.”  

Not one.

You say, “but my business is different.”  

No.  It is not.

We still love you though!

A third stressor is the powerful Master Process Roadmap.  Imagine ALL of your business systems and processes mapped out on one sheet of paper.

Seth Godin said, “we’re buying the process from you, not just what you are making.”  

Your process IS your product.  Your product (ice cream, custom homes, hair styling, engineering services, etc.) are commodities; a useful thing that can be bought and sold.

But the PROCESS behind the product is what makes you unique.  It is why I prefer Pal’s Sudden Service over just about any other fast food place.  Their hamburgers, fries, and shakes may be marginally better or worse than the rest, but their process is remarkable.

Your Master Process Roadmap allows you to visually see the strengths and weaknesses in the body of your business at any time.

You can choose to wake up each morning and guess, “can my business survive the next storm?”  

Or you can embrace manufactured stress…and start knowing.  There is no competition to a well run, well stressed business.

 

Scott Beebe is the founder of Business On Purpose, author of Let Your Business Burn: Stop Putting Out Fires, Discover Purpose, And Build A Business That Matters.  Scott also hosts The Business On Purpose Podcast and can be found at mybusinessonpurpose.com.