How to Fix Your Business in Seven Days

Your business is struggling. You are not sure what the problem is. Everything you look at is okay, but not great.

You have made suggestions in the past, some of which have been followed, others ignored. There has been some improvement here and there but nothing substantial. You know what it feels like when your business is in a groove. Your business is not in a groove.

What do you do?

Here’s an idea I got from John Forde, the copywriter, with some post-conversation embellishments of my own.

John’s idea is to makeover you business in seven days. John points out that there is genius in limiting the change to 7 days because it forces you to pay close attention to the most important things.

The model for the 7 day business, John suggested, are the reality shows where some expert comes into some situation – a house in need of repair, a love affair gone wrong, a hair saloon in decline – and fixes it.

I thought it would be fun to explain this idea using one such show I’ve seen and enjoy: Hell’s Kitchen – in which Gordon Ramsay, the celebrity chef, spends a week in a troubled restaurant and completely revamps the place in that short amount time. Then do the same thing with your business.

What does Gordon Ramsay do?

He observes closely and makes assessments and then he changes things – dramatically. He focuses on the three most important aspects of any business. I call them “the three P’s.” They are the key people who run the business, the products the business makes and the processes involved in producing and selling the product.

Ramsay observes the manager, the cooks and the wait people. He figures out who are really good and who are really bad. Then he does his best to get rid of or redeploy the mediocre people. He then applies the same approach to the products – the menu of dishes they serve. Out with the bad stuff and improve on the good stuff. He then observes how the kitchen and the dining room operate – the efficiency and effectiveness of everything that is done. And he makes dramatic changes.

As John said, ‘What’s great about this kind of seven-days-or-bust approach is that it forces decisions that are usually stuck in limbo (e.g. Keep this franchise or kill it and move on?), waiting for the “one great package”… the “one great offer”… etc. that’s supposed to turn everything around.”