“Which of these 57 things do I do?”

by Daniel Batten on August 1, 2010

One of the problems that small businesses face is that there are about 57 things you

“have to do” at any one time.

When you go to a branding expert they say you need to do a branding exercise; when you go to a designer they’ll say you need to work design; when you go to a logo expert they say you’ve got to have a logo.

Then your PR person will say you need to create a stir in the media; your advertising guru will say you need an ad campaign; your social media expert will say that social media is the way to go … feel familiar?

The problem is that none of these professionals are experts at business growth; they are expert within their particular silo – and so have a blinkered view about what can achieve growth for your business.

They are experts at what they do, but not at telling you how doing that activity

will increase your business and when you should be doing it and you are likely to

get an answer which is framed by what they happen to do well.

As a result, you are left guessing what the right thing is to do at the right

time. Business school doesn’t help you – it gives you theories, and seldom goes into

real-life issues like choosing where to invest your money when.

You’ve got a whole list of activities, but really haven’t got a clue which one’s going

to yield your result.

Typically companies do one of two things

  1. They put their head in the sand because they get overwhelmed and as a result ignore professionals who could really make a difference
  2. They go to many professionals, get a whole list of recommendations, all

of which you should do, and all of which are going to make your company bankrupt if

you do all of them, and then think “How do I choose?”

So how do you choose which things to do when.

Like this:

  1. Work out your purpose then your vision. Once you have done this, look at potential strategies you could use to support your vision.
  2. When you are doing the strategic session, brainstorm with many people. Consider bringing in an outside expert with experience in business strategy. At the very least have a strategy session with your team.
  3. Once you have a strategy to support your vision, now you will know which professionals you need when. The stakes of this decision are high, so you should be involving your business mentor at this point to review and critique your strategy.

Knowing what to do when, and what not to do is one of the things most companies get wrong. The reason they get it wrong is that they undervalue the critical importance of the 3 steps above, because

  1. They “don’t have time” (this is not true of course, but its a great excuse)
  2. They underestimate the importance of strategic work because it doesn’t seem “tangible”
  3. They are so locked in a pattern of working for billable hours for month-to-month cashflows that they don’t know how to justify the time-out in order to think at a higher level.

By the way, these 3 phenomena all occur only in companies that don’t have competent business mentors, so the best way to solve all 3 is to commit to getting business mentoring which will address the root causes you cannot see that cause these 3 problems to keep recurring and keep providing you with plausible-sounding reasons never to do what you know you ought to.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

alan dunn August 2, 2010 at 10:20 pm

Hi Daniel

Would love to catch up with you and see how things are with you…..

I am at present in the Uk but wil be back later in the year.

All the best mate


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