It’s Your Choice

Category: Strategy Published on Jun 09 2015

I love this sign! How often are we so wrapped up in trying to get somewhere quickly that we forget that we have choices? We can do a complete, safe stop at the stop sign or continue on. Yes, there is a penalty for not stopping. But too often, when we receive that penalty we blame someone or something else. If that idiot driver hadn’t slowed me down… If my boss wasn’t so mean about lateness… If…well, you get the idea.


In small business, we do the same things and need this same reminder. In general small business owners are:

 - Too busy doing to plan

 - Too excited by the new opportunity to evaluate whether it’s a good fit

 - Too exhausted from getting everything done to see how to improve

 - Too worried about selling the next widget or service to keep an eye on profitability

 - Too focused on growing to identify how, where, and why growth is desired


As a past small business owner and solopreneur myself, I know how consuming running a business can be. How completing one task breeds two additional tasks. How hiring help seems to create additional work and challenges.


If you are not careful, your work will take over your life. Then one day, you may wake up and realize that you have not been excited about what you do for days, weeks, or months. That possibly you hate your job and your boss (one you created, the other is you – do the math.)


As small business owners, occasionally we need to come to a complete stop and work on our businesses rather than in our businesses. We need the break to let our minds rest and reboot to bring in creative new ideas. We need the break to refresh our bodies. And we need the break to remind ourselves of what is truly important and why.


So what activities constitute a full stop versus a rolling stop?


Full stop activities are:

 - A vacation with no business, period.

 - Time spent outside your office working on your business (visioning, strategic planning, brand identification, etc.)

 - Attending and being present for a conference to learn skills that will help you become more effective and / or efficient

 - Meetings with mentors, coaches, mastermind groups, etc.

 - Scheduled time to apply what you learned at the conference or meeting


Rolling stop activities are:

 - A day at the beach or on the golf course where you stop every 10 minutes to take a call, return an email, or send a text message

 - Deciding after reading an email message to target a new ideal customer

 - Attending a conference to learn, but spending your time thinking about or working on daily business responsibilities rather than listening, taking notes, and evaluating how what you learned can make a difference

 - Being late, leaving early, or rescheduling meetings that will provide outside perspective and growth

 - Taking your notes for changes and throwing them onto the growing pile of things you’d like to accomplish.


While complete stops may not be free, I can guarantee that in the long run rolling stops, or worse, not even slowing down, will be much more costly to your business. It’s your choice.


Have a great day!