If you have been in the Boise area for even a short time you have probably either seen or eaten at the infamous Rockies Diner on Overland Road. Unfortunately, Rockies was forced to close, as discussed in the article, “Sheriff’s Deputies Shut Down Rockies Diner. Here’s why.” A landmark in Boise for sure and one that has been around for a very long time.
As with anything that happens, there are “lessons learned” that can hopefully help other businesses from being shut down for similar reasons. Being a long time Boise resident, I wanted to share some thoughts about how I see the situation and share some “lessons learned” that might help you and others from avoiding this type of outcome in the future.
3 Lessons Learned
There are 3 primary lessons I feel every business owner can learn from the fate of Rockies Diner.
Know When You Are In Trouble
Almost every business owner knows the signs of when their business is heading for trouble. It could be trouble with slowing sales, or financial statements out of balance, or employee issues, or tax problems, or a myriad of other warning signs.
The key is that every business owner knows what makes things move along smoothly and what are the indicators that say things might be headed for troubled waters. It is important to make a conscious effort of knowing and writing down what these warning signs might be for your particular business. Then look at them on a frequent and regular basis to know if you might be headed for trouble in one or more areas.
Get Outside Advice Sooner Than Later
One of the biggest areas of resistance I see is for business owners to get outside assistance or advice. Often times they believe they “have things under control” when in fact they don’t. And possibly worse, they don’t know what to do if they do start to get out of control. Business owners are experts in their particular business…their specific product or service…not in the operational sides of running the business.
For example, someone who runs a diner, like Rockies, knows a lot about food and the kitchen and how to prepare and serve great food to their customers. They may not have a great deal of knowledge about marketing or accounting or processes that are either negatively impacting their business or that they are missing out on some opportunities.
Getting some outside perspectives are essential today with the fast rate of change in business and the low (if nonexistent) barrier to entry into a new market. The amount of money you invest to get outside assistance can not only pay large dividends it can possibly keep the business solvent.
Get A Plan And Execute The Plan
Another area I see sorely lacking in a business is the lack of a formalized plan. All too often when I talk to business owners and ask to see their business/strategic plan I get a blank stare. They will tell me they know what they need to do and are working towards that throughout the year. This isn’t a plan. That is wishful thinking that they hope will come true.
Having a well thought out and documented plan will help you stay on track and help you avoid disasters along the way…and it allows you to capitalize on opportunities when they arise as well. I feel this is an essential ingredient for any business to be successful today. It doesn’t mean it will change as things change but you will know why they are changing and what you need to do specifically to take advantage of these changes.
A business that wants to not just survive but grow will have a solid, well thought out business plan. And if you use any outside advisors they will want to see this so they are in sync with what you are doing and can tell you how they can help you be more successful. And back to number one above, it will help give you a solid foundation for the warning signs of your particular business.
Back to Rockies Diner…it appears they were missing one or more of the three things above. I don’t know their situation personally so I don’t know the story behind the closure. But based on the article, I would venture to say they might still be around if they have followed the 3 key areas above. It may have triggered that something was wrong long ago so he could enlist the services of some outside advisors to help him understand the severity of the situation before it became critical. And if he had a business plan for where he wanted to go an outside advisor could have helped him identify a specific set of actions that would have hopefully helped him avoid this situation.
All this is speculation from my perspective but I’m pretty confident these three areas could have helped him significantly given the situation described in the article. Take a look at your own business and answer the three questions above. If you know the warning signs, have consulted outside experts, and have a solid business plan you are well ahead of many other businesses and setting yourself up for success.
What to do next…
If you have any question about any of these 3 items, just ask, I would be happy to answer them for you the best I can. Or if you have a situation that requires more discussion, feel free to contact us and schedule a complimentary meeting so we can learn more about your situation and offer some insights into some steps that would be of help to you and your business.
We’re here to help so don’t be shy about asking for it. We don’t want any business to end up where “it’s too late” to repair. Most businesses are repairable when the signs are addressed early. Best of everything in your own business and let’s hope Rockies figures out a way to come back, they will be missed.