Evolutionary Business Design

Why EOFY is like Christmas in July for Business Owners

Endings and beginnings: Like EOFY, they’re inevitable; like breathing… out with the old, in with the new.

I love a good rummage around in my computer. As a Creator, I do a lot of writing and thinking and starting but not everything gets finished.

Not everything gets published – but here’s something that did. It went out as a newsletter late last year and, on reflection, I thought it was relevant to the End Of the Financial Year (EOFY) just as much as Christmas.

You might be focussed on the financial clean up but there is so much more to endings and new beginnings than getting buried in numbers. If you can think differently, you can get different results.

Here’s my Christmas in July gift to you… and a little BONUS at the end.

The end of things…

Yes I know it’s only November, but there’s something about “now” that has a certain feel to it.

​I love this time of year – the time to start finishing off the year; tidying up and the tying off things… like a big red bow tied around a hand-made gift that is complete and ready to bestow at Christmas.

​I’m a creator – I like to make a mess when I’m creating. My desk resembles Einstein’s.

​Puttering around my desk, cleaning up, gives me time to think. I find things I thought I’d lost in the teetering stacks of notes and sketches and outpouring of ideas. I find snatches of wise words from conversations, resource materials, pictures and doodles and diagrams, the beginnings of things for later use – I’m so amazed at what comes out of my brain and makes it to a page. Thank goodness it does come out – it gets cluttered in there!

​I like to clean up afterwards to make room for more intriguing thoughts.

And as I clear my desk after a project is finished, sweeping away the detritus left from a million creative ideas, I clear my mind by reviewing…

  • what worked and what didn’t,
  • what I learnt,
  • who I connected with,
  • what I’ll stop doing,
  • what I’ll continue to do
  • what I’ll do differently next time.

​Some of my plans for this year came to fruition; some went completely sideways, some smacked me between the eyes – amazing, surprising, startling things that I could never have planned for, like my new health coach who appeared at just the right time.

​I love the potency of those spontaneous things, and while I’m pretty big on planning, I also like to leave lots of “wiggle” room for things to evolve. Some of them have been way better that I could have imagined or planned for myself.

The realisation I came to quite a while ago is that while we behave like we can control everything; we schedule and diarise and pack and squeeze as much as we can into our too busy lives, we’re actually not in control nearly as much as we think we are.

​There are other forces at work here and if you just stop for a minute, take a step back and loosen your grip you’ll find all sorts of synchronistic, apparently spontaneous things will be allowed to happen.

​You’ll bump into that person you’ve been thinking of, the clients you’ve always wanted will contact you, the projects you really want to work on – they will come to you.

​That’s pretty much been my year – everything I tried to force got choked, everything I allowed to flow happened almost effortlessly.

​Right now I’m in flow… getting ready for relaxing summer holidays, time with family, lazing under a tree with a good book, walking, swimming, playing with my grandson, clearing my head and connecting with people I love.

​Not long now. Just a few more loose ends…

The beginning of things…

There’s a space between finishing one thing and starting another.

​I call it creative procrastination; it’s the thing you do in the space between productive tasks. You tidy your desk, you make another cuppa, you get a snack, make a few calls, clear your emails, file your nails, make holiday plans…

But there’s more going on than you realise. You’re “Getting Ready”.

Your brain is switching gears. While you’re fluffing about in the in-between space, your brain is planning and working things out. What you need, who you need, how to tackle the task. It’s an almost meditative state, like hand watering the garden on a warm summer’s evening.

Until eventually you kick yourself into gear; “C’mon, get on with it”.

And you make a start.

Trust that process. Don’t use it as an excuse!

Now it’s up to you… run with it, play with it, be with it – enjoy it!

How to move on when things change

I was recently having lunch with a lovely client I had coached several years ago. We’d had enormous fun working on their family business together. It grew and flourished over a number of years and gave them everything they wanted; a great income, opportunities, education for their children and travel – a very good life.

But it has been disrupted over the last few years by legislation and compliance. It has ceased to be as much fun as it was.

This is no longer the business they started with. They’d lost their passion for it. They had a decision to make: they could stay and try to ride it out or move on and sell it to someone else to create the next chapter. They decided to part with it.

So that’s what we were talking about – how to move on when things change.

First we tackled all the perceived negatives: “Who would want us at our age” (not yet 50!) “We have no qualifications”. “It’s too late to start university”. “Do we want another business?” “Should I get a job?”

Then we got to the positives: The irreplaceable experience they had running this particular business for 15 years. The roles they had taken on: business management, financial management, HR and people management, stock control, marketing, sales, business structure, time management… the list is very much longer.

We talked about “reinventing” yourself. Understanding the skills and natural talents you have and how valuable that is in business – and in life.

And we talked about self-worth and self-belief and that until you can get a better sense of yourself and the value you bring, you’ll pitch yourself too low. The temptation would be to take something to be safe rather than work out what you really want and shoot for the stars.

It was a fascinating lively conversation. This wonderful amazing talented person who came in with her shoulders drooped left on a high, with a much better sense of starting out on a new “grand adventure”.

You don’t know what the future holds. No-one does and yet we go through life wanting to control everything.

Yet some of the grandest adventures in life are beyond what you can imagine. You just need to let go a little and trust that the Universe is conspiring to do you good.

How long will your business last?

Have you ever had a brainstorming session for your business – a really deep and meaningful exploration into the outer reaches of what’s possible?

I was speaking with a woman a few nights ago who was telling me about her new business and the product she offers; what goes into it and how she packages it. She says she is the only person in Australian doing it. Now, I don’t know how much research she’d done but someone else who joined the conversation said “Oh yes, I’ve seen that in America and other countries.”

How long do you think it would take before someone else looks at it and says “We can do that, let’s copy it.”?

Given that the product was not unique and the packaging, while unusual, was not unique – not very long I’d say… And there’s another fledgling business left with nowhere to go because they hadn’t worked out how to stay ahead of the curve, and because they didn’t know how to do that.

Harsh Reality: business is tough, it’s not for everyone. Will you be a survivor?

I love to encourage new business owners, and I don’t like to burst the entrepreneurial bubble – but the reality is, if you want a sustainable business that makes consistent money and gives you plenty of satisfaction you’ll need to delve deeper into your concept.

Most new entrepreneurs can easily identify their first wave of customers – friends, family, some first degree relationships – but the second, third and subsequent waves of customers starts to get a little fuzzy. They realise this is going to take some thinking and some marketing and “gasp!” selling. And they’ll need to get to grips with money and finance.

At this point some people give up. But SOME people roll their sleeves up and get to work.

Until you have a Proven Concept with a hungry crowd already consuming products like yours (and are looking for more or better) you may just have the seed of an idea, but not an actual business.

If your business is more established, don’t get complacent. You always need to be on the front foot, testing what works, what doesn’t and be ready to make changes. Swiftly. Decisively. Intelligently.

One of the best things you can do right now is imagine how your business and your industry will be in 2 years, 5 years and 10 years’ time. If your business is based on a “fad” – and there are plenty of them – make a plan to get in quick, have some fun, make some money and exit before the fad becomes extinct.

If your business has a longer lifespan because it is in an essential market segment or it is able to grow with new technology then make some long term plans – but make sure you are flexible, agile and at least listening to the market if not predicting the future.

The trick in business is to look further that the next few months – get real about what’s possible for your business beyond where you are now.

And if you need some help with that. It could be time to “Reinvent Your Business”. Ask me how.

Connect with me on Facebook at Bright Business

Ask me great questions and I’ll answer them.

If you’re an ideas person, or you need some ideas to grow your business, you’ll love next week’s blog “Capitalise on your Concept”.

Personality types and planning; what makes you do what you do?

Which best describes you?

  • “Here’s exactly what’s going to happen” planner
  • “This might work” planner
  • “I’m not sure about this bit” planner
  • “Let’s all get together to make a plan” planner
  • “I’ll plan a bit and leave the rest to the universe” planner
  • “Let’s just see what happens” planner
  • “Can someone else do this, I’m too busy” planner
  • “Just tell me what you want and I’ll do it” planner
  • “I’ll get around to it later” planner
  • “I’ve never had a plan in my life, I’m not about to start now” non-planner
  • Something I haven’t even described here or a combination of others

We’re all different – and we seem to attract people into our lives who are our opposites – thank goodness! Imagine if we were all the same… Chaos would reign; there’d be no leaders and no followers OR there’d be fights breaking out amongst people who insist on doing it their way.

If you’ve ever been frustrated by the planning or non-planning processes of your boss or partner or work colleagues, it doesn’t mean they’re wrong it just means they do things differently to you.

And if you know a little bit about DISC profiling you’ll understand that there are 4 basic personalities:

The High “D” people are dominant and driving and want to be at the front of everything, but aren’t good when it comes to details.

They make a plan where they can change, fix or control things. They need the High “C” people to handle the details and High “I” people to explain it to the team.

The High “I” people are Influential and Inspiring.

They like to be at the centre of things with lots of people around them. These people will make plans to be “popular” and are also not particularly interested in details. They need High “D” people to dive parts of the project where it gets bogged down. And they need “S” people to steadily work away at all the tasks that need doing.

The High “S” people are steady and supportive.

These are the people who like to be given a plan rather than write one. They are very good at being cooperative supportive and agreeable. Plus, they can carry the plan forward and get things done. They need High “C” people to help with the details and the “I” people to keep them connected to the larger team and the “D” to the purpose.

The High “C” people are conscientious careful and compliant.

With rules to follow, their plan will be very detailed and precise. These people need High “S” individual to help them relax a little and go with the flow – and the “D” people to drive the plan forward. “I” people can help deliver the plan to the team without them getting overwhelmed.

Of course, we are not all of one thing, we are combinations of these personality profiles but we do have a dominant personality.

Ultimately your plan needs to be your plan if you’re in a solo business. If you are planning for others consider their personality profile. Ask them what they need in a plan to fully engage with it; how much detail; who does what; who leads what and what is the benefit of the plan to the whole team.

To find out more about DISC profiling and how it can be used in your team book a 15-minute call here.

Growing your business your business vs scaling your business – what’s your plan?

If you owned a corner grocery store before the invention of supermarkets you would probably have had a nice little business supporting you and your family.

Everyone would be working really hard in the store. You might pay yourself a minimum wage and the rest of the family might be working for “love”. You’d be open all hours including weekends. The ways to grow your business were limited to time, space and labour.

Everything was about personal service and growth was limited to what you could afford to stock, the space to stock it and the labour involved to serve the customers. There were tangible limits.

You would have been blown out of the water when the first supermarket opened up down the road!

They had a scalable system. They were bigger, brighter, had more variety, and operated on self-service and minimum staff at minimum wages. Then, they could afford to stock what you couldn’t and had a marketing budget to lure your customers away. They had systems and procedures for smooth running.

When you think about the difference between growing your business and scaling your business, it works like this…

Growing your business means you are adding more resources when you make more sales – you need more stock, more people, and more space. The increase in revenue is swallowed up by the increase in costs. It might look like you’re growing but technically you haven’t “scaled”.

Scaling your business means you’re adding revenue at an exponential rate without increasing your costs at the same rate. If it takes as much time energy and money to make the next sale as it did to make the previous sale, you haven’t scaled.

Think about Amazon:

They blew bookstores out of the water. Yes, you have to wait for the book if you want a hard copy, but you could get the book instantly at a fraction of the cost if you are happy to have an electronic copy – and at a fraction of the price.

They also thought about what people do when they buy books: people like to browse, read a few pages, have books recommended by the store owner, see reviews on the book jacket, and they like to take their time. Amazon noted all of this “buyer behaviour” and built it into their offering.

What can you learn from this?

  1. Growing your business happens incrementally. It suits some people but not others.
  2. Scaling a business can happen with a change in how you think – again not for everyone.
  3. Be alert for opportunities inside your business to scale rather than grow.
  4. The best businesses to scale are those that provide essential services that have a proven concept (people already buy) and they can be operated by fewer people and fewer overheads.
  5. Don’t scale a business that is a “fad” – it won’t last long enough to give you a return on your investment.

What do you think? Could your growing business be scaled?