Q: I know I could build my business if I only just had more access to financing. But the banks are so tight these days with loans and lines of credit. I really want to get into a bigger location, but I can’t seem to make it work. What can I do?
A: Constraints — deadlines, short staffing, distance from customers or suppliers, low marketing budgets — are just a part of business, as they are of life. We may not like them. But wise people have always taught that constraints, or discipline, builds us up, makes us smarter and more creative.
“When we fight constraints and eliminate them, we often gain access to new insights, new productivity and new solutions. It also makes it easier to compete against people who don’t have those constraints,” writes Seth Godin.
Today, everybody’s short on money and it may just not be in the cards for you to do that expansion anytime soon. So, what can you do but make the most of your current space?
Time to get creative:
- Can you un-clutter your space by eliminating furniture, equipment or inventory you really don’t need? The minimalist look is actually very trendy these days and your customers might see your re-do as a stylish upgrade.
- Can you do some of your business outside your main location, say, at house parties? Network marketing is well established. But housecalls are now coming back for many types of businesses, especially services like hairstyling.
- Can you do more business online? With the social web and mobile devices, more and more customers are skipping the physical store and connecting with businesses only through the Web. The customers like it better and it can save the business a lot of money.
As Godin puts it, “There’s a useful alternative: embrace the constraints you’ve been given. Use them as assets, as an opportunity to be the one who solved the problem. Once you can thrive in a world filled with constraints, it’s ever easier to do well when those constraints are loosened. That’s one reason why the best filmmakers learn their craft making movies with no budget at all.”