Examining the givens in small businessWhat are the givens in your business? Are there things about your business that seem so definite and unchangeable?

I’ve been reading Killing Giants:10 Strategies To Topple the Goliath In Your Industry. It’s a very engaging read by my friend, Stephen Denny and the strategies he describes in the book run the gamut from gutsy to deceptively easy. Some of you may be considering taking a run at the giant in your industry. Others of  you may be wondering if you could just increase your market share and work around the giant. However, to move to the next stage in the business cycle, it’s important to know your capabilities, your limitations and the truth.

One theme that jumped out at me in Denny’s book was his question about what is a given and if it is constantly true. So, for you, are the givens really true in your business? Now that we’re entering a new quarter of the year, it’s a good time to review your strategic plan. Basically, check to see if you and your business are progressing well.

You’ve heard the phrase, “given the givens”? We believe certain things are true. Somehow they are immutable. What if they are not true? Maybe the givens are only partly true? Critical thinking is an important skill here. Imagine what would happen if you asked yourself what is true about your business. For example, who are your real clients? Sometimes small business owners are aiming for one type of client but they are actually paid by another. I’ll use my own business as an example. I thought I worked with entrepreneurs with small businesses. I really work with established small business owners who are transitioning from one stage of growth to the next stage in the business cycle..

 Another given people cite during planning sessions is the economic environment. It could be regional, national or even global. Certainly with the recent recession, memories are long. However, what is true about the economy you participate in? Even in the darkest days, there are businesses and industries who thrive and the opposite can be true when things are bullish.

And while we’re considering the  larger economic question, there is also being clear on what revenue streams are givens. What  really makes money for your company? Sometimes we believe that something is our primary moneymaker. Until you actually stop and look at all of your numbers and ask the question, you could easily assume something is set in stone.

A given is simply that…something we believe is set in stone. Maybe there are things about your competitors that aren’t true. Maybe there is something about you that’s not true. But you won’t know until you ask.

What are some givens that you believe need to be challenged?