Just like the quiet evening disturbed by the neighborhood’s barking dog, the problem that seems to keep cropping up, and making you wonder what is going on, can disrupt even the best planned business venture.
The barking dog syndrome indicates the presence of a problem or challenge, which has not been solved or keeps interrupting your business. It can be a labor issue, operational dysfunction, transportation problem or sales challenge. Small or large, such an issue can take away precious time from other pressing needs. Quieting the business barking dog is accomplished through three main steps: Identification, resolution and restitution.
When a problem or challenge pops up and cannot be easily put to rest, you may have to use all your powers of investigation to identify exactly what is causing the disruption.  With some seasonal agricultural businesses, labor issues tend to develop at about the same time each year.  Seasonal workers may leave before harvesting needs are accomplished, or the experience in workers you counted on is not what you expected. Finding more help, adding more training sessions and realigning jobs may be time-consuming at a busy time. Likewise, operational issues such as equipment concerns, transportation problems and harvesting schedules can also present challenges at critical moments.
Quickly identifying what the problem is and where it originates from is an important step in solving issues that detract from your operation. You may need to consult with managers, supervisors and partners to discover what is problematic. And, if needed, outside consultants and advisors may add another level of assistance if the challenge cannot be solved internally.
Once the situation is identified, timely resolution is critical. The sooner a problem is resolved, the better the opportunity to get back to work and mainstream your operation again. Delegating resolution duties to a trusted manager or supervisor allows you to oversee the total operation instead of being sidetracked by pop-up problems. Having a business plan that spells out how problems can be resolved and by which managers and employees, sets the flow for how to handle situations when they occur.  It is especially helpful to involve other workers and family members to assist you when you have other responsibilities for the overall operation of a business.
When a problem is identified and resolved, restitution means repairing what has gone wrong in an operation and moving forward. Restitution involves paying costs incurred, relieving tensions that flared, or settling remaining issues from a problem. Allowing problems to linger after a difficult situation or challenge is akin to dumping hot coals on dry leaves – the potential for a flare-up is likely. Internal situations may necessitate addressing all employees and engaging cooperation from all to make sure the problem is behind you. An external challenge may require meeting with wholesalers, retailers and others to assure that the situation has been addressed and you are ready to move on. Either way, making sure that your operation is successfully back on track is essential in quieting the barking dog problem.
Good communications through each step of the challenge paves the way for all parties to understand and help resolve whatever the crisis may be. If employees and partners are kept apprised of the situations and know what the plan is for resolution, the better they may feel about cooperating and assisting.
Don’t let barking dogs disquiet your business. Identify problems, work diligently to resolve them quickly and restore functionality so your operation can move swiftly and surely forward without lasting ramifications.
The above information is presented for educational purposes only and should not be substituted for professional business or legal counseling.