Thought I would share an article I wrote for Connect Magazine . So much has changed for the better since then.Have you ever looked at a business person and thought, “Wow look at how busy they are; they must be incredibly successful?”
Busyness can often be mistaken for productivity. This is something I realised a few months ago in my business. I was so busy that I was bursting at the seams and people were commenting about how my business was growing at a rate of knots. When they did, I would smile and play long – while inside I was thinking, “So why isn’t my bank balance growing?”
This is the danger we as small business owners face. We create the sparkle and the press(which are important to get the name of our brand out there) and everyone loves us because inevitably we give away lots of our time and resources in this phase. The problem is that we start to believe our own press and we are seduced into believing that the busyness means we are growing our business.
I was on holiday in Australia when I had the time and head space to listen to the nagging little warning bell that was going off in the background. With all the noise gone, that quiet little warning bell became a reality check. Why, if there seemed to be so much growth on the surface, was my bank balance not only not growing, but slowly getting worse?
For the first time I took the rose-tinted glasses off and looked at my business with fresh eyes. Suddenly it was glaringly obvious: if I carried on doing the same thing, I would continue to get the same results – and I didn’t like where that was going.
I realised two things:
1. My business was like a tree that was full of leaves but no fruit. My ‘busyness’ was creating exposure, but in my case my efforts were yielding little fruit. At first glance it looked like it was flourishing, but there would be no new growth once the cycle was over. This was clearly unsustainable. I had to prune this tree, and quickly.
2. I was giving of my root and not my fruit. I am incredibly passionate about small business and because of that I was pouring myself out without getting any monetary value in return. Now there is nothing wrong with this, but there is a wiser way to do it.
I should have built the business first, ensured it was strong and flourishing, and then from the fruit fed those I am passionate about. This way I would be sustainable and able to support and undergird others without putting my business in jeopardy.
My next step was to make a choice and make the change. I didn’t even know how I was going to do that…. but I’ve discovered that once you make the decision to change, life(God) has a way of helping you along. When I got back to South Africa, some things shifted, which confirmed the decision to change. I then started the process of change, which is a whole other article….
So what can you take from this article? Despite the sparkle and press, the Facebook posts and the perception of others that your business is flourishing, is your bank balance – or your gut – saying otherwise?
My advice to you is:
- Pause – Take some time out. For at least a day, go somewhere that is totally outside of your work realm.
- Be honest – Face the facts. What are you doing that is busy but not fruitful?
- Pruning – Make the adjustment; it might even mean stopping something.
- Start doing – Add the nutrients. Are there some things you need to do to enhance the growth of your business?
- Check your root – Have you given too much? You will need to take time to let that part heal and grow again.