I haven’t blogged in a while because I’ve been the wrong kind of busy lately. I haven’t been strategic. I haven’t made time for the items that matter. I’m sinking in a pile of poor processes, transitioning staff members, and it’s finally starting to rear its ugly little head on my financial reports. I’m in a small business owner fog.
Kicking off 2017, I had an ambitious budget. The only reason why I finally came up with a budget that is ambitious is because I’ve never had a budget that actually matched how quickly our business grows. This year, it’s going to be different. I’m going to plan for success, I told myself.
Well, shit, our first month of 2017 is almost over, and we’re not going to make our budget. Sure year-to-year, we look good. But, bottom line – looks pretty damn bad. I’m kicking myself over it. I’m not sure martinis can help me feel better.
This morning, my three-year-old daughter came up to me and said, “Mommy! Watch!” She’s getting better at catching things and wanted Dad to throw her something so she could show me how good she is at this now. She said to me, “See! I’m getting better.” She was SO happy. I looked at her and longed for that feeling of achievement. I wished I still could be happy over the little wins.
It made me think, Why are small business owners so hard on themselves?
We missed a big billing opportunity this month. One of many mistakes contributing to our shitty financial reports for January. I went through different stages of grief over this but eventually landed on my many mistakes leading up to this issue. I ended up calling it an expensive lesson to everyone concerned and we’ll fix it (hopefully) so it doesn’t happen again. My creative director reminded me that last year, we this wasn’t an opportunity lost, it wasn’t an opportunity at all. At least we’re now seeking these opportunities.
Good point. Good point.
What else happened that’s a little win or a new skill this month?
I think we all need to remember that business ownership is a marathon. It’s a full of drama. There wouldn’t be good moments if you hadn’t had a shit ton of bad moments to compare it to. What is the good without the bad after all?
Small business owners: Let’s get back to being strategically busy:
You might have read that first paragraph and thought, “huh?” – I’m always just busy. There’s a bad busy and good busy?
Yes – I can tell you there is because I’ve spent the last few years trying to hire the right kind of help to keep me from being buried in bad busy – like anything related to accounting, answering the phone, setting up appointments or getting projects done. As a business owner, I want to stay focused on process improvement, leadership, strategic planning, and execution . . . you know, lead people towards the vision. Take actions to accomplish goals. Blah blah blah . . .
We’ve had some turnover this year. We’re updating and changing systems. We’ve grown our staff. There’s just been a lot of things that have made me bad busy for the last couple of months that I haven’t been able to work on the items I’ve needed to focus on in order to get our budget realized. As more cracks in our existing processes begin to appear, I feel like I’m placing band-aids over ax wounds.
Marathons are completed one step at a time.
I’m not a take-over-the-world, kind of start-up business owner. We have a small slice of the pie and I’m happy with that. I want the best damn agency serving that small slice of pie. I’m not looking to win any races – just do our own version of a great job.
This reminds me of a book that I love called Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson. This book is full of tiny tidbits of helpful advice, but they have some information for me to listen to today about little wins and little decisions.
Ask yourself what you can do in two weeks?
I’m going to take one issue, figure out what we can do in two weeks to make it better and ensure that happens and that everyone knows the results of that quick fix. Then, we’ll move to the next little win and little decision.
Maybe in two weeks, we’ll be celebrating our little victory and saying, “See! I’m getting better!”