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Keep a Watchful Eye on Your Business

Tom Ninness
Jan 30, 2010

Keeping a Watchful Eye on Your Business The year was 1900. The first sign of any incoming storm came on August 28. For the next few days, the storm would move across the Atlantic, growing in intensity moment by moment while going virtually undetected. On September 8, the Category 4 hurricane passed directly over Galveston, Texas, destroying the city and killing 8,000 people—the worst natural disaster in U.S. history. Even though storm warning had been posted four days prior warning the citizens of Galveston to get out immediately, they ignored them and paid the ultimate price. There are always Warnings before Business Surprises Take Place Seven years ago, the Real Estate and Mortgage Industry was like shooting ducks in a barrel. Anyone could get a loan—fog up a mirror, you just got yourself a home. Lenders became greedy. “What the heck, if the person doesn’t make their payment, the house has been getting double appreciation month after month, look at all the equity we will have when we foreclose”. What were they thinking???? Four Common Business Assumptions Assumption 1: Surprises are just a part of business reality. Reality: Business professionals have the potential to consistently detect opportunities and avoid disasters, thereby ending business surprises. Assumption 2: The data needed to anticipate surprises just don’t exist in the business world. Reality: The data is there to make decisions before disaster strikes. Assumption 3: There’s no way of anticipating events so why try? Reality: There is always warnings. Assumption 4: Even if it goes against common sense, why not try it? Reality: Common sense never grows old. Business blind spots can have devastating consequences. “Business surprises, the unexpected events that rule the business world every day, should not be surprises” writes Kenneth McGee, author of “Heads Up: How to Anticipate Business Surprises and Seize Opportunities First”. So as sales professionals—the CEO’s of our businesses, what are the “blind spots” that we need to keep looking back, around corners, so that we don’t get struck or run into something that could devastate our businesses. 1. Going it alone. Our culture has raised us to be “self made men and women”. We are independent and self-sufficient which makes it easy to reject offers of help and advice. By isolating yourself, you undercut your team for success. 2. Being oblivious about your financial situation. When things go well and you’re making a lot of money, expenses get ignored till you have a bad month or quarter. The mantra that is heard across the country is “Expense Management”. Fat is being cut to the bone as industries have learned to do without—something that they could have done without when times were good. Hindsight is 20/20-But we need more!! 20/20 Vision is the expression of what normal vision is(the clarity or sharpness of vision). It means if you have 20/20 vision, from 20 feet away, you see what most people can see from 20 feet away. Hindsight is the perception of the significance and nature of events after they have occurred. It is also the rear sight of a firearm. Hindsight is the process of deriving meaning from what we have seen or experienced. In a way, it’s an examination of what lessons we have learned in the past. This is one of the reasons why I am such an advocate of journaling as journaling allows me to look back at previous lessons and what I learned from them. By using a “rear sight”, I can reexamine and take a sharper aim on the target or goals that I want to hit. Being Far-Sighted is Better than Being Near-Sighted The medical term for near-sightedness is myopia. Myopia is not confined to physical shortcomings with vision, but it also is how many of us run our businesses. Back to the housing industry. The housing crisis that began in 2007 was preceded by a long period when it appeared that housing prices would rise forever. Caught up in the bubble, many individuals and families bought homes far beyond their means, tempted by low interest rates, and interest only plans. Banks and other lenders rushed in to meet the demand. When the inevitable bursting of the bubble occurred, the ripple effects included a worldwide credit crunch, resulting in many stable businesses being unable to obtain credit to maintain operations or expand capacity. I’m fortunate to work for a company with “Far-Sighted” Vision. Yes, we could have made a lot of money with subprime loans and option arms that had “deferred interest” (a nice way of saying negative amortization). We stayed away from these loans and we are here today stronger than ever. Our competition was too “near sighted” in their vision—they wanted it now and now they are gone. Be alert-have clear vision The first few cars that I drove only had the left side mirror. We were always look around our right shoulder to see if there was any traffic in the right lane in case we had to move over. Finally someone created the right hand mirror which made it much easier to go in and out of lanes. The vehicle still has blind spots and we learn how to compensate for them. In our businesses, we need to be alert and have a clear vision of what we want to accomplish. Be aware of the blind spots in your business. Measure and evaluate your leads, pipeline of suspects, prospects and clients. Keep expenses low. Learn to do without. Be alert of market trends, read whatever you can, get a coach, join a mastermind group—all of these ideas can limit the number of possible disasters in your business. Tom Ninness is Vice President/Regional Production Manager for Cherry Creek Mortgage in Denver, CO. He is also the President of Summit Champions, Inc. and creator of the “The 90 Day Journey to Your Sales Success”, a powerful 90 day action plan for the sales professional. To learn more about The Journey and Summit Champions, go to, or contact Tom at [email protected] Office: 303-840-0753.
Jan 30, 2010