4 Questions You Better Never Fully Answer

In business, it can be tempting to get the ball rolling then spend the rest of your time chasing it. In management, that temptation to continue the status quo can be all but insurmountable. Friend, if you want to survive, you better surmount that tendency. You better get better. One way to do that is to never stop asking these five vital questions.

Who should we be selling to? In the beginning the right target market can be so clear you can actually miss the boat completely. It doesn’t matter if These People Buy It if, all the while, Those People Over There would buy more of it more often. The lesson? Don’t pigeon-hole yourself with stale “common knowledge.” Keep your market analysis fresh. Don’t send good money after bad and definitely do not leave money on the table.

Is this really worth doing? Too many businesses fail because they remain committed to a failed business model … or, worse, they are having somewhat limited success that looks like actual success. Remember Borders? What about Radio Shack? They had customers there every day. They looked busy at times. But it wasn’t enough. Eventually, reality overcame assumption, and they had to close their doors. Meanwhile, their competition learned how to flourish. Why? Because they chose a business model that worked better.

Do the people calling the shots have a clue? Now, this is not a clarion call for that oh so typical culling of middle management that corporate America loves so much. This is about knowing you have the right people in the right positions. It doesn’t help if the people best able to make decisions in a certain area are busy making decisions in another. Even if their decisions are more or less okay, they are still not in the best position to benefit your company.

How can we make more money? This is never a wrong or bad question to ask. Never stop asking it … and demanding tangible, workable answers, not just pie in the sky sloganeering.

Hey manager, what about it? How many of these have you stopped asking? How is that failure hurting your bottom line, and how can you correct it? Better get to work.

Roman Temkin is a real estate developer from NYC.