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Does Your Business Have a Headache?

Warning: Those that have had the pleasure of experiencing a really bad headache this article may need to be taken with a couple of pain relievers.

An ordinary day suddenly interrupted by a searing pain, for me it is usually right behind my right eye—a headache!

Now, there are many ways to treat a headache and really it all depends on what type of treatment you subscribe to. Often times the desire to go crawl into a dark cave cuddle up and whimper is not the best course of action.

My spouse has a standard protocol for treating my headaches and it always works without fail, and yet I truly have to fight the desire to crawl into that dark cave in order to finish the regime.

First, a dose of pain reliever, now mind you this is at a time that my stomach is not all that happy and the last thing it wants to see is food, drink, or foreign matter. Of course the expectation is to also drink a full glass of water, two would be even better. Next, a nice hot shower, focused on relieving the built up tension from the headache, followed by a nap. In that order!

Now, realizing that a headache is just a symptom of something else going wrong, such as dehydration, it is important to really think about how to treat it. Drinking more fluids, a dab of an essential oil mix on the temples, and a little exercise to get the blood moving can often times be just the right fix.

There is a third course of action, take no action. This would coincide with the mindset that something is out of balance and it will naturally realign and create balance once more.

So what fix is right? And is the right fix for one person the same fix for another?

As a person that has experienced many headaches in my lifetime, it is amazing that I know what needs to be done, the solution seems so obvious. Yet the implementation is never as simple.

So, what does all this have to do with business?


Imagine a time when your business was experiencing a problem. Maybe there was a sudden onset and bam, there was a problem. Or maybe there were warning signs that just continued to be brushed off as nothing, until suddenly those warning signs turned into a full blown problem. Now simply replace the word “problem” with “headache” and it is easy to see that you business has probably suffered many headaches.

What was the treatment?

Well, it would depend on what expert you consulted! And I’m not referring necessarily to an expert that you called, this could be a book, a website, maybe a forum. There are several places that you might look to an expert, but here is the really important question …

Did you follow all the advice?

Going back to a plain old headache if I were to take the first option the steps would looks something like this:

  • Pain Reliever
  • Lots of Water
  • Hot Shower
  • Nap

With four steps, there are twenty-four different ways that those steps can be uniquely combined. Of course there is also the possibility of skipping a step all together.

Seeking the advice of an expert from time to time just comes with the territory. Yet, when that advice is given there is more often than not, some second guessing.

Once more, take a look at the four steps for a headache cure.

  • Pain Reliever
  • Lots of Water
  • Hot Shower
  • Nap

Consider for a moment the results if step one through three are skipped and the nap is the only step performed. Does that mean that the headache won’t go away?

Well, remember a headache is just a symptom of something wrong. So, if a person went straight for the nap and the reason they had a headache was lack of sleep. Well, of course the headache would feel better after sleep, but what if the headache was caused by dehydration, a nap would do nothing to resolve it.

Often times an expert will give advice in such a way as to cover as many root causes for a symptom as possible.  

For a moment imagine that your business has a headache represented in not have enough cash. That is really just a symptom of a deeper-rooted problem. Is it that you business is spending too much cash? Or is it because you are not bringing in enough new clients? Could it be that you are not capitalizing on current customers and their continued patronage? Or is it a combination?

So how many types of headaches can you have based on the possible root causes? Well if there is only one root cause to blame you can have three different possible combinations causing the business headaches. If it is a combination of two symptoms then add in three more different combinations. Finally, if the headache is caused from a mixed bag of all three root causes, chalk up six more different combinations. That means there are a total of twelve different combinations of the root causes that could come together to create the business headache.

So really the lesson here: if you choose to alter the advice of an expert, you must first understand the underlying cause of your problem, or root cause. Remembering, of course, that there may be more than one root to blame.

Sometimes it is more effective to take the cure that fixes all the root causes, and follow the expert advice to the “T.”