Managing Uncertainty in Your Business

Managing Uncertainty in Your Business

Like it or not, the steady and constant companion of every business leader is uncertainty. Uncertainty in your business never wavers. It never abandons even the most vigilant businessperson. It never falters in showing up, even when things are going well.

Business uncertainty is an inescapable companion for every business leader but especially for distributors. Every day distributors confront concerns about staffing, supply chain, costs, customers, and new challenges and problems. Still, success in business means managing the doubt, the worry, even the wonder of how your business keeps moving forward despite your anxiety. So, with all of that said, what does it mean to manage uncertainty? I believe there are two principal considerations.

Cope With What You Can’t Control

There’s not enough time or space to recount all the things we cannot manage, the events we cannot control. Still, let’s at least consider a few examples of things we can’t control: the pandemic, the economy, and, of course, there’s always the weather.

There’s a great quote from Mark Twain about the weather, “Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.” That quote fully encapsulates everyone’s concern about the uncertainty of the weather as well as our inability to control it. While it is true that we can’t control the weather, we can mitigate the risks. For instance, we can keep an eye on the weather forecast (even though we know it isn’t always accurate) and prepare for possible adverse conditions.

You can’t eliminate all uncontrollable risks in business, but there’s no reason to be unduly worried and concerned if you act prudently. We can’t manage the weather, but we can cope by preparing for whatever is thrown at us-even the unexpected.

Measure What You Can Manage

Edward Deming is known for his statement, ‘What gets measured gets managed.” The idea is that when we set performance goals, we then manage those objectives. I don’t know a businessperson who would disagree with Deming’s principle in part, I believe, because when you work goals that you can measure, you feel more in control, less uncertain about your ability to achieve your objectives.

However, the challenge today for businesses is that we work in a very data-driven, data-connected, and data-overloaded business world. There’s so much data generated and information overwhelming us that we struggle to understand what is happening in our businesses and how we should respond. Because of the volume of data, it has become difficult to measure what we want to manage.

Often, businesses respond to this tsunami of information with paralysis even though they may acquire tools that could help them sift through data. The challenge is that the company must build its reports and dashboards from scratch, often needing someone with a programming or data management skillset beyond those of most distributors.

Business Management Tools

There is, however, a better, more accessible path your business can take to manage uncertainty. Business management tools like MITS Business Intelligence, designed for distributors, measure what distributors need to understand and manage. Rather than spending valuable time, energy, and money trying to develop your dashboards and reports, they are built-in for you! Instead of struggling to make sense of what you want to measure, you’ll discover that your measuring toolset has been already waiting for you, with your distribution business in mind.

Of course, the next step, once we measure what we want to manage, is acting upon information, taking steps to ensure we achieve our goals. That’s where the integration between MITS BI and TDF CRM can be so valuable. A distributor can measure, manage, and cause their business to act to drive to their objectives.

Tools like MITS BI and TDF CRM don’t eliminate uncertainty in your business, but they can make it more manageable, more controllable. And that’s important because every distributor wants to feel like they have a hand in the destiny of their business even if they can’t control everything, even if they must move forward with uncertainty.

About the Author

J. Douglas Smith

Vice President of Product Management, White Cup

Doug Smith is experienced in sales, marketing, product development, is a public speaker and storyteller. He has extensive SaaS and cloud-based technology experience from conception to product launch and through the product lifecycle.

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