Balance the Drive to Attain with the Need to Sustain

I wrote an article recently about the strength of your will to survive using a decapitated dandelion as an analogy.

cactusflowerkillingcactusSmYesterday, on my morning walk, I spotted another example in nature of the determination of propagate itself. You can see the ends of the ‘leaves’ beginning to brown and curl.  (A more dramatic neighborhood example where the underlying plant was all but gone had already been excavated.)

If you live in the desert, you’ve undoubtedly seen these spires.  They are quite amazing. But if we watch them grow for too long, they begin to sap all of the nutrients from the rest of the actual plant and it eventually dries up and dies.

So what does this have to do with you?

You are probably feeling like you’re working harder than you’ve had to in the past to make sales and grow your business (or even stay even).  While it’s critical to focus on prospecting for or attracting clients, you still have to take care of the basics.

Here are some things you must continue to do while you seek revenue.

1. Document and update your procedures and processes
Make sure your documentation is current.  I recently had to update mine after the computer crash because things/applications didn’t work the way they had in the past. Always be prepared to replicate yourself and your team.

2. Create a delegation plan
Make sure you’re acting like the Captain of your ship, not an oars(wo)man.  It’s tempting to do the ‘easy’ administrative stuff but it can consume your time.  Being busy is a good thing…sort of.  Ask yourself if you’re busy and broke or busy and making money.

Look for work your employees can do. Then give it to them. If you don’t have employees, find things you can outsource to an intern, contractor or vendor.  Use your time profitably.

3.  Analyze your financial records and cash flow
My friend, Ellen Rohr talks about getting to a ‘Known Financial Position’. By that, she means ensuring that your accounting systems are recording each of your transactions accurately.  Don’t have an accounting system?  Get and use one.

While many programs ‘learn’ which accounts individual transactions should be linked to, they are not infallible.  Work with your bookkeeper or accountant throughout the year to keep your records straight. Notice if there are seasonal fluctuations in revenue and expenses.  Develop plans to even them out if appropriate.

4.  Survey your customers
The world is changing and so are the needs of buyers.  Find out how you’re doing serving them.  Make adjustments when necessary.  Ask what their current needs are.  Find out their goals.  This information will help you anticipate and respond to their needs.

5. Invest in your own development and help your staff grow
When budgets are constrained, companies often look to cut out training, thinking of it as an expense that can be postponed.  Think of it instead of an investment in productivity and profitability vehicles.

Think and act long term and your company will be long term.

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