New Solution ~ Old Problem

| April 24, 2018

New Solution ~ Old Problem

“Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.” ~ Alan Lakein

Executive Summary…

New Solution ~ Old ProblemIt’s Small Business Week 2018. The hopes and dreams of the future rest on what you do over the course of the next quarter… and all the quarters after that.

You want to turn your business into a Gold Mine… not a money pit sucking up your time and money, wearing you down and out.

You have a choice:

  1. STATUS QUO: Do things the way you know to do them, and hope for the best (which, according to the stats means you’ll be history in 36 months)…Or…
  2. ADAPT & ADOPT: Adapt to the new reality and adopt the Winner’s Mindset — PLAN to WIN and PLAY to WIN…

This means you must be forward-looking, and focus your time and talent working a Strategic Plan rather than relying on a bunch of hackneyed tactics to see you through.

You probably are already using an accounting system, Quickbooks and the like. Good for keeping track of the past.  But if you let them exclusively guide your decisions…

Bad move.

Accounting is a necessary evil but it only tells you what you DID and where your money WENT. It does precious little to inform intelligent choices about WHAT to DO and more importantly, the BEST WAY to DO it… HOW and WHY.

For that, you need a Simple Strategic Plan that is updated monthly.

Having started, built, merged, sold, folded, and invested in some 22 different businesses —billions of dollars in sales and equity — you will want to pay attention to this short article… and my conclusion:

Improve your Biz IQ. Do it now. 

Until you PLAN to WIN there is no way to PLAY to WIN.

And if you don’t PLAY to WIN… you have lost the Golden Game of Business before you even get started.

Plan to win then play to win and you can join the winner’s circle… maybe even find entrepreneurial greatness!

The “magic” in the work we did is to simplify strategic planning and make it available to small businesses at the click of a button, in a way everyone can understand.

New Solution ~ Old Problem

Old Problem…

New Solution ~ Old ProblemThis is something of a bad news / good news story.

People work hard, lay it on the line every day, and invest their precious time and money in businesses that, in all likelihood, will ultimately fail.

Some sooner, some later, but the results are the same.

According to the 2017 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over HALF (50%) of all businesses started this year will be gone in 36-48 months. Almost 70% in just 10 years.

Dead. Bankrupt. Shuttered. Closed. Decaying.

What is VERY interesting is that there has been no material change in these numbers in 40 years.

The failure rate in the 70’s was no worse than it is now. The above chart shows that a business started in 1995 has the same mortality curve as one started in 2018.

You would assume that with all the technology, computer systems, AI, and networked everything, small business failures would not be the mass-extinction level event they are today. One would think this problem would have been solved long ago!

Good economies, bad, mediocre, spectacular. It makes no difference in these numbers.

HALF will be gone in 3-4 years, TWO THIRDS in 10 years.

A staggering statistic. An unbelievably high mortality rate.

At a STAGGERING cost, personally and to the economy at large.

New Solution ~ Old Problem

This means a loss of money, reputation, and a hard hit to your family, friends, employees, investors — everyone counting on you to make it. Lots of tears.


What is the actual problem?

Slow growth… poor cash flow… ruthless competition… bad hires… ???

Lots of reasons, but ultimately it all comes down to this: They didn’t PLAN to WIN… so they didn’t PLAY to WIN.

Businesses without a Strategic Plan are stepping over DOLLARS to pick up DIMES… attempting to throw tactics at their issues… when what they need is a real STRATEGY.

Accounting programs like Quickbooks, Zoho, Xero, Go Daddy Bookkeeping, etc. are a good start but fail to give you the guidance and direction you need.

They just report on what happened and where your money went. They don’t give you clear instructions on what to make happen… or more importantly, HOW and WHY.

New Solution…

New Solution ~ Old Problem

If you are serious about building a business worth owning… turning your hard work into a veritable gold mine… there is GREAT news!

You can… but you will need a better strategy than relying on prayer for success.

There are literally tens of millions of small businesses around the globe where the prime strategy for success is prayer!

A prayer for…

  • Better cash flow…
  • Faster growth…
  • Smarter employees…
  • Sales expansion…
  • The list is endless.

Even the best business people have a real problem separating Strategy from Tactics… so the idea of continuous strategic planning never receives much consideration.

Plus, it is very expensive and difficult to work, even for highly skilled, educated and trained MBA’s!

It is one of those areas of business where it seems simple, but in practice is highly complex.

When we created the Small Business Stress Test, we had to throw out the theory of planning, and get down to the nitty gritty fast.

The quest was to find a solution to the age-old problem of planning on a business FUNCTION basis, vs. common business planning where you just throw it all together, shake it, and see what falls out. (Also known as the Spray and Pray approach!)

In reality, the PLAN is not the reward… it is the PROCESS…

“In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” ~ President Dwight D. Eisenhower

There are literally a million things you could do to improve your business, but you can only do a few at a time… so identifying and isolating what’s important NOW… then what’s most important NEXT offers maximum value to the management team.

Ultimately, the acid-test is the revealing of your strengths and weakness in a Function by Function evaluation.

Look at the graphic below. It embraces the 10 critical Functions every business, large and small must become great at.

These 10 areas are all business-critical. You are either doing them well, or you have a hole in your organization.

In fact, it doesn’t matter if you are running a bicycle shop in Boulder, a restaurant chain in Boise, or a parts manufacturer in Baltimore.  If you want to grow faster, improve cash flow, hire smarter employees, and take a lot more money to your bottom line… become materially better in these business-critical areas.


New Solution ~ Old Problem

New Solution ~ Old Problem


The “magic” in the work we did is to simplify strategic planning and make it available to small businesses at the click of a button, in a way everyone can understand.

New Solution ~ Old Problem

Why not invest 30 minutes to take the NEXT step of moving from seat-of-the-pants reactions to commonsense strategic planning?

Done right, you can turn your small business into a real gold mine!

Expect Success,

E. R. Haas, CEO

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Category: Business Growth

About the Author ()

E. R. Haas is CEO of the TQ Smart family of web sites including,,,, and hundreds of others.E. R. is a "serial entrepreneur" and has created over 20 different businesses in software, manufacturing, finance, publishing and many other areas.He is married to Jan Haas who shares his interest in model railroading, gardening, and traveling by train. Together, they have 5 grown children, 9 grandchildren, and 6 great-grandchildren.

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