When running a small business, there is always a tendency to be and do everything for everyone. Particularly in the first few years while establishing the business and getting the cashflow going. This makes it extremely important to keep focused.
In order to keep focused, however, you first need to know exactly what kind of business you want to be. You need to know exactly what you do and, which is no less important, what you don’t do. You must believe and trust that you are doing the right thing, stay on the yellow brick road, and have enormous passion for what you do, because otherwise you will simply give up. Of course you keep changing, learning, developing and finding better and better ways of doing things, but that is different from chasing the idea of the week in this direction one day and that direction the next.
I am all too familiar with this myself. I started out with the goal of increasing the marketing capabilities of small businesses. How I do this has changed, and keeps developing. When I first started out I traded hours for dollars (well kronas, actually, but you know what I mean ;) before realising that it takes too much time, is expensive, and I kept saying the same basic things over and over again. So I developed the idea. I started to make training materials and got them online so that people could work through them on their own and then come to me if and when they needed additional help, needed to tackle a specific problem and work with things that could not be standardised and delivered in the training materials. This enables me to scale my business, service more people at a more affordable price for them, and it is also more professionally rewarding for me because when I do work face-to-face with my clients we are beyond the basics and doing more challenging things.
Temptation, however, is always around the corner. Taking on this task meant a lot of research and development, developing the training materials, recording them, making them, sorting out all the technical stuff etc. etc. Work that did not yield any financial reward whilst being done and is still not complete. I try to keep as focused as I possibly can, but I have taken on projects that are not what I would like them to be, trading hours for dollars just to keep up the cashflow. These have however always been marketing projects.
During this I have had a few job offers. Good ones. And to be honest, sometimes I really fancied a steady job, if it were the right job, the right company – and not least, the right boss (who would of course allow me to continue to untangle marketing on the side ;) All these jobs had some marketing element to them, but they were mainly other things, such as project management. As flattered and happy as I am that people should think of me and want me to work for them (it’s not bad for the old ego ;) I said thank you very much, but no thank you.
The thing is, I have finally figured out what I want to be when I grow up! I am and want to be a marketing nerd. There are a lot of things in life that I don’t know and am completely useless at, but this I know. This I am good at. Because I am passionate about it. Because I never get tired of learning more about marketing, figuring things out and love nothing more than to see what I do work for people. Because by helping others improve their marketing that allows them to be and do what they want, what they are passionate about.
That is my focus. Idea of the week might be tempting, but it does not fit into my journey down my yellow brick road. It is not compatible with my goals and it does not fuel my passion. That’s why I will just have to continue to be a marketing nerd :)
What is your yellow brick road? What are your goals? What are you passionate about when it comes to your business? What is your focus?