I was talking to one friend the other day about how much work he does that he doesn’t get paid for… the ‘advice’ clients seek for free. He’s working in an industry that often gets paid a fee for success and any work prior to that success is often ‘at risk’. We were discussing the challenges of this.
Yet another mate of mine always asks himself, “Is this making me money?” and if not he’ll pivot.
That second example seems a little extreme to me. While he’s successful, has a great lifestyle with overseas holidays each year for the family and enjoys life, though it demonstrates it’s a great strategy, it just seems extreme to my thinking. Not everything needs to be brought down to efficiencies and effectiveness, surely there’s time for life…
There’s No One Solution…
Remember the tortoise and the hare? Life’s a journey, not a race. Some people love to go on holidays where they’ll see 15 countries in 7 days, it’s all organised and you’ll have a wonderful time, maybe not a cultural experience but a wonderful time. Others like a more relaxed pace, taking in the experience and staying at quaint villages as they explore a country.
The beauty is both are right… The enjoyment of the experience comes down to expectations and appropriate research.
I say appropriate research as, on the packaged tours, the research has all been done for you. They take you to the sights that have proven popular, ones that most people would like to see. For the second option, you’ll need to do the heavy lifting. It’s actually been shown that having something to look forward too is a great contributor to happiness with life and that the planning phase of such a holiday can provide as much satisfaction and enjoyment as the 15-day journey itself. It extends the holiday as you start to imagine the experience in the planning which provides a lift to your spirits already. It takes you there emotionally, out of your day to day and on the journey already.
The Same is True for Business
There’s no one absolute answer. There are faster journeys and slower journeys. Of course, there are some journeys that can end in disaster.
You can go on a planned tour by buying into a system, a franchise or licenced program or you can forge your own trail. Discovering the landscape, the towns and villages of terrain as you go.
The business world has a language of its own. Learning it is a matter of immersion. Diving in and enjoying the experience. Fighting it rarely provides rewards.
Even when forging your own path, it’s often wise to have a guide who can assist you in understanding the locals and helping you see opportunities that you may have missed.
The Quality of the Experience Comes From the Planning
It’s been said, “Most people spend more time planning their holidays, than their financial future”. I don’t know if that’s true but I do know that many of the people I speak to in small business don’t have a clear and coordinated business plan.
Few have a clear and documented picture of what they’re trying to achieve and fewer have a clear map of what their next 12 months look like. I’ve been there too.
From 1999 through to 2013 I ran my own business without a plan. Did we have success…? Sure! And we also met some monumental failures!!!
Because we drifted from experience to experience, we were great at what we did, recruitment but with no clear plan, we’d ride the waves… And they were exhilarating.
The boom of the noughties from 2003 – 2008 were fantastic, but when tough times hit, both in 2001 and 2008, we were completely unprepared. Our lack of planning meant that there was no predetermined plan when things didn’t go our way. We had no recovery plan, no readiness for disaster, even though I’d been warned, if I cared to listen (I didn’t). Our passion to help people still burned, yet the opportunities weren’t there as the market for recruitment had shrunk.
The Difference Between Backpacking and Carefully Crafted Package
With holidays we want to get the most from the experience. Generally, if we’re not on a package tour we’ll ask advice. We’ll seek out people we know have been there before and we may even consult a travel agent.
The best travel agents are people who’ve not only been there but have enjoyed the tales of others who’ve enjoyed the experience. They’ve listened to what has been a great experience and what hasn’t. They’ve taken into account the style of the people and what they were after in their journey. Then they’ll find out more about you, taking the time to appreciate what style of the journey you’re after.
Crafting Your Plan to Make the Most of the Experience
There’s a strong correlation in business. If you seek an express experience, you’ll need a guide. Making the most of others successes and failures is the best shortcut I know. You can ask your friends and colleagues that have had the experience or you can seek a consultant that has taken the journey themselves and also listened to the experience of many who’ve been there before. Helped them through challenging times and celebrated the wins as well.
Are you after a rapid fast paced journey or are you happy to stop and smell the flowers along the way? Are you prepared to enter risky zones, enjoy the street food or are seeking a safer more mainstream path?
In the end, understanding the experience you seek and what you want to take from that experience, will determine how you structure your business. Being aware of this will determine the style of business you create, the culture that will work best for your clients, you and your team.
I’ve talked a lot about what’s included in a business plan, take a look at some of the related articles and you can get a stack of free business plan templates with a simple google search.
Let’s face it, you can avoid many professional fees… just they come with a risk. You can do your own tax returns, craft your own legal agreements and set up your own computer systems.
Having a strong plan that you use to create a balanced scorecard for the business and each role within it, and clear milestones that you keep front of mind to build your business is the shortest path to success and lifestyle I’ve seen.
Have a great experience, a wonderful journey and if you’d like some guided assistance, reach out. Let’s have a chat. I’m happy to help.