The definition of insanity is to perform the exact same action over and over while expecting different results.
Plan. Do. Check. Adjust.
I’ve heard it for years. Not a brilliant revolutionary idea. It sounds kind of plain. But, in all honesty, when is that last time we did it? Are you building your business consciously and intentionally, or do you spend each and every day putting out fires at the whim of circumstance?
It is common for us to become so busy running our business that we forget to follow the pattern. And I do not mean the generic ‘we’ meaning ‘you’. I mean Peter & I (though you might be just as guilty as we are). Our business has picked up speed, to the point where all we are doing is reacting to crises. Recently, someone we care a great deal about gave us a lecture explaining that you cannot grow rapidly and build an effective structure at the same time.
Having acknowledged the need to consciously follow a more sane pattern, we have taken steps.
1) We are hiring an virtual office manager / administrator (interviews this week), who should handle the daily bureaucracy and help free us to focus more on the growth of the business.
2) We are turning away new clients / warning current clients of limited availability until mid October.
3) We have scheduled two retreats, one in mid September and one in early November, during which we will Check, Adjust and Plan again.
So what is going to change? The purpose of the artificial stall of our business is to establish a structure that will allow us to grow further.
Finding Vetted Contractors.
We need a system that will screen and attract qualified and talented freelancers & small businesses. Peter & I know a number of people from our personal network, but it is time to actively grow beyond our circle.
Finance and Reporting
We need a system that tracks the finances and work flow of our company in such a way that we can draw solid and effective information to support decision making.
We need a system by which we review projects, learn from them and apply that knowledge to avoid future mistakes.
We need to continually review our current business model, question and confirm its validity. We need to ask ourselves what can we be the very best at and how do we quantify the answer.
We need to pause and take a good look at ourselves and discuss strong points & weak points and how they affect the company.
I’m sure I’ll come up with more before our meeting in September and add it to the list.
Ultimately, either you are steering your business vehicle or your circumstances are. For those of you thrill seekers (I bet you use the snooze on your alarm too), feel free not to plan. But if you want to create a sustainable business (or a massive organization that changes lives), it will need to be deliberate.