Don’t focus on making money. No business can survive that.
The biggest problem in trying to grow a business is that we’re too busy making money. It’s not a play on words – it’s a serious problem. You’re too busy making money.
The overarching swing and a miss here: We think that our purpose in business is to make money when our purpose in business is to BUILD A BUSINESS that makes money. These two things are worlds apart, and almost every business I work with is absolutely buried in making money, which will keep them from ever making a lot of it. Why?
Because businesses are in a constant fight to balance two things:
The Tyranny of the Urgent
The Priority of the Important
The Urgent things in our business come flying at us all day every day, causing us to be REACTIVE and defensive in just holding the business together as best we can. One of the biggest things that comes flying at us daily is the need to make money to cover today’s bills.
We get so used to this pressure that even when it’s no longer there, and we’re making enough money to buy a hot tub on a whim and go on vacation a couple weeks a year to somewhere exotic, we never leave this mode of business. We actually think the goal is to make money. It’s a dead end and a big reason why most businesses, if they every grow up, don’t do so for decades.
In contrast, the Important things sit in the corner and whisper to us “I’m really Important, but you’re right, taking care of me today won’t make you more money today.”
Taking care of the Important things requires that we be PROACTIVE, because the Important things almost never seem Urgent. Taking care of the Urgent might even bring you Riches (money), but taking care of the Important will bring you Wealth (freedom and the ability to choose what to do with my time.)
Do you want Riches that you don’t have time to use, or Wealth that allows your business to make money while you’re on vacation?
One Example of the Important: If you stop making money long enough to write down the processes that you think you’re using in production, you don’t make more money today by doing that. But you now have something that will save you big bucks in re-training, inconsistent quality of products or services to your clients, employee stress, crisis management, and on and on. But since we can’t see a way that it will make us money today, we always find a way to put it off until “later” (psst… later never comes).
The key is to strike a proper balance between making money today (reacting to the Urgent), and BUILDING A BUSINESS that makes money down the road without me even being there (proactively taking care of the Important now, not “later”!). If you’re focused on the Urgent, you’re business will never grow up.
Next week we’ll talk about how to create the proper balance between these two so you can pay your bills today and ensure you are creating a business that makes money without you down the road. It’s not as hard as we make it (and it doesn’t take as long, either).