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Manage YOUR Business

So, you started a business.

It becomes a success.

You hire a manager.

It starts to decline.

Instead of stepping back in, you allow it to fail.

What happened?

Could be a lot of things. But, the simple truth is that no one will manage your business the way you will. You have to be involved. You have to be present. You can’t flip a switch and outsource it to someone else.

Well, you can. But more times that not the results are not great.

You have to manage your business. Plain and simple.

Cabane’s Trading House, 930 Miles above St. Louis (1832), George Catlin

The Parallels of the Business World and Your Personal Life

I tell my students all the time that the things we talk about in business are largely applicable to their personal lives.

We learn about resource allocation and budgeting.
Households deal with this every month.

We learn about S.W.O.T. analysis.
Individuals can assess their own strengths, weakness, opportunities, and threats.

We learn about inputs, throughputs, and outputs.
Again, individuals and households apply.

The examples are seemingly infinite.

The interesting thing is that the OPPOSITE is also true.

Your personal life runs parallel to your business or professional life. How you treat others in your personal life is a reflection of how you treat your colleagues and customers. Your organization in your personal life impacts the organization of your professional life.

It’s a symbiosis, a relationship between the two.

You can win at one while the other suffers, but it’s not sustainable. You need to take care of both in order to really find unparalleled achievement.

Thaxter’s Garden (1892), Childe Hassam

Fear is Good for Business

You’ve probably heard of the “Fight or Flight” response. When people are confronted with danger, they will either fight or run away.

In the pre and early civilization ages, this meant that when someone was walking about, probably hunting or gathering, and came across a dangerous animal, they would have to make a decision. “Do I fight this thing, or do I run away and hide?”

In modern times, we face this dilemma less and less. But, we have new dilemmas that create the same type of response.

There are entire industries built around making and keeping you afraid.

“A break-in happens every X minutes, BUY THIS!”
“Do you have these symptoms, ASK YOUR DOCTOR if this is right for you.”
“Natural disasters are happening everywhere, YOU NEED THIS!”
“The radicals are taking over, YOU NEED TO DO SOMETHING!”
“Have you fallen and you can’t get up?”

The reason these types of messages are so powerful is because they tap into our fear. That primal instinct that screams at us. We perceive an existential threat; it prompts us to do something.

There’s a reason why milk and bread sell out before a winter storm. There’s a reason why ice and water does before a hurricane. There’s a reason why toilet paper does during a pandemic (right?).

Fear is very good for business. But, it’s not very good for people.

Be on the lookout for this type of messaging and ask yourself, “Am I emotionally reacting to this, or am I going to reflexively process if this is a reasonable threat to me or not.”

Some fears are rational, however, more often that not, the Boogie Man is a figment of our imagination, not something waiting for you around the corner.

The Fall Season (n.d.), Bruce Crane

Easy and Excellence are Mutually Exclusive

In teaching and studying business for some time now, I have determined a few certainties. One of them is more than a theory. It has become a law in my mind. And that law can be expressed in three words.

Business isn’t easy.

When you decide to open a business (and I believe most people should), you are making a commitment to excellence. You have decided that you want to be the best at something. You either want to have the fastest, the cheapest, or the highest quality product or service on or in your market.

No one opens a business and says, “I want to be the least efficient, the most expensive, and the lowest quality on the market.” They would not be in business long if they did.

Beyond seeking excellence, one of the reasons why business isn’t easy is because the environment is constantly changing. You have to anticipate what your customer wants today, next week, and next year. What works today might not work tomorrow. As technology changes, you have to adapt or die. You have to show up. You have to do the work.

You can have easy. Or, you can have excellence. You can’t have both.