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Salt Lake City Bookkeeping Blog

Putting Your Small Business on a Diet

Posted by Matt Roberge on Nov 7, 2014 7:00:00 AM

Put your business on a dietHave you ever put your small business on a diet? I'm not much of a dieter; I like wings and beer too much. So I offset that by trying to exercise regularly. However, one of our clients told me he is starting the Paleo diet. I kind of chuckled only because I had never heard of it. It seems like there is always some new fad in diet. The Atkins diet, some sort of juice cleanse, it always makes me sort of chuckle. As I thought about it more, people try the same thing in business; people put their small businesses on a diet as well.


People love the trendy diet. Drink nothing but this juice for the next 2 weeks and you will be all set. I feel like many diets get started just through strong SEO and inbound marketing work. But do they work and do they last?

People love the trend in business as well. Hey look at company So and So, they are really crushing it through inbound marketing and blogging. Maybe I can crush it through inbound marketing and blogging. Just because another company is doing something and having success does not mean you will.

Early adopters and thought leaders win in business, not followers. 

Many Quit Dieting

Let's face it a ton of people go on a diet only to quit a short time period later. Maybe they drop 10 pounds and feel satisfied. A few months later they are right back to where they started; it's just not healthy. 

Same thing applies in business. People pay consultants big bucks to come in and tear their business apart. They make adjustments based on advice and all of a sudden things turn around. Have you ever stepped out of a consulting gig thinking all is good and then revisited them a year later? Had they improved or gone right back to the business that was in trouble?

Much like in dieting, businesses correct bad behaviors for a while but eventually they quit and slip back to where they were. 

Unhealthy Dieting

I can't imagine that all diets are healthy for you. My mom is a nurse and always preaches that anything in excess is not good for you. If you do nothing but cut nutrition from your body and replace it with a lot of one thing it can't be good for you.

Unhealthy dieting exists in business as well. When business owners feel the stress of a bad financial situation they make drastic decisions. One common approach is make massive cuts to expenses. If you cut all of your expenses it may seem like a good move but ultimately it will probably kill your business. In tough financial situations you have two options: cut expenses or increase sales. Rather than focus too heavily on one it probably makes sense to find a healthy balance between the two.

Making drastic cuts to your expenses may do more harm than good.

Exercise is Important

Any diet recommends that regular exercise is important as well. Same thing goes for your business. If things are not going well for your business you need to figure out a way to turn things around. Turn up your networking to try and drive some business. Seek assistance from a professional sales or business coach. Sit down with your business mentor to go over things. Do some financial analysis of your business to see where you may be wasting money, but also where your opportunities are to improve financially. 

If things are not going well for your business sitting around will not help, you need to do something. 

Business Dieting Done Right

Then there are those people that are just good at dieting. But it's not so much that they are good at dieting is it? They are just good at staying fit and remaining healthy. They don't eat or drink in excess and they exercise.

The same thing applies to the business world. If you want a healthy business you need to constantly keep working on it. Don't stop working, don't slip and splurge, and don't over work. Being good at business is a never ending marathon, not a sprint. Assess your business often to make sure it is meeting your expectations. Learn to use your financial system as a business tool to grow your business. Build and maintain a budget to ensure that you are staying on track. Make sure that your operations are dialed in. Make sure your sales team is hitting their goals. Have all of your legal and HR ducks in a row. You know... just being good at business.

Maintaining a healthy business requires constant attention and hard work. 

If your business needs to go on a diet to get back on track just realize there are right and wrong ways to go about it. Excess and drastic changes are never a good thing.

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Topics: Financial Reporting, Small Business Growth, Grow Your Business, Scaling A Business, Financial Advice