this article originally appeared on LinkedIn Pulse

Ever watch an epic war movie? I’m talking Saving Private Ryan, Hacksaw Ridge, Lone Survivor type of movies. Those movies are great, but these days war movies are more real than ever. When you watch them, you really feel like you’re on the battlefield, fighting the enemy and triaging wounds. We get a gruesome look at the reality of war.

In war, casualties are inevitable. But many can be prevented with the right treatment. So when a soldier gets hurt in one of these movies, what’s the first thing the medic does? Usually, he or she stops the bleeding. If, and only if, they stop that bleeding do they stand a chance at saving the soldier, continuing to fight and winning their war.

Yes, the stakes are lower, but business is no different.

Because we’re all out there waging a version of war on our competition. Our weapons are our products and services, and our armor is our reputation and customer service. But no matter how good your weapons and armor, injuries will happen. Your business will bleed.

So, what’s the damage?

In a business context, the damage I’m referring to is a revenue bleeds. (I talked about this briefly a few months ago.) You might have also heard this phenomenon called “hemorrhaging money.” Whatever you call it, bottom line, you’re losing money in an unacceptable way and/or at an unsustainable rate.

Unless you’re controlling every part of your business every minute of the day (which you should NOT be doing!) revenue bleeds are an unavoidable, inevitable part of doing business. Every business has a bleed at one time or another, with varying degrees of severity. Yes, you should aim to operate as lean as possible, but there’s just no way a business can function 100 percent lean 100 percent of the time.

Then why bother?

Just like a human being, if the bleeding isn’t treated and stopped, there’s no end to the havoc wreaked on your business.

Let’s say, for instance, an employee stealing office supplies to use for their side hustle. This is totally unacceptable, but in dollars and cents you might be talking about ten bucks lost a month. At first.

If you don’t realize the theft is happening, that employee may become emboldened by their brazen office supply burglaries and start stealing other, more valuable assets. Like profits. Now you’re in a situation where other employees may notice what they’re getting away with and follow suit. Before you know it, you’ve been robbed blind by your entire staff.

Ok, this is an extreme example. But a revenue bleed can be an extreme problem. Had you noticed the unusual uptick in office supply purchases, you may have put an end to the office supply theft much earlier.

How do I find this revenue bleed?

If you have a sense that your business isn’t as lean as possible, you might have a revenue bleed somewhere. And if you’ve been reading Roach Rants for a while, you already know that I always advocate for an outside eye when it comes to identifying the problem areas in your business.

Checking things out yourself is a good start, but sometimes you need a fresh set of eyes to really get a good look and identify bleeds you’ve never noticed before. That’s where business strategist can really be the difference between exponential success and incremental failure.

Need an outside eye to find your revenue bleed? Get in touch with me here or on LinkedIn.

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