Long standing traditions is what gets us into trouble, we default to our comfort zone’s, because it feels good I guess, or we’ve always been told that’s the way it’s always been. I always get in trouble when I say these kinds of things, personally don’t care for traditions or anything traditional, especially when it comes to life and business, which pretty much covers everything. But some things just wouldn’t work if we didn’t keep some traditions from our past, although I’m not sure what those should be : )
I’ve spoken many times to business owners about the future of business, what they should consider, what they should prepare for, but the truth is, we only care about today. No matter how proactive one might be, we can’t seem to look ahead, we are bad at planning for the future.
We are a funny lot, people I mean. If our business was a family member, and they suddenly died of cancer, we then stop and contemplate our own lives, it’s a nature human behavior. Suddenly, looking ahead, starring in the distance, peering down the road becomes important, we start to think, we should prepare for, or be ready for, what would happen if, and yet, our actions show that we only care about today.
The Future of Business is more than just caring for today, if you only look at your to do list, or a week in front of you, you are missing the bigger picture. Bigger things are coming, bigger things will happen, if you look ahead 3 – 5 years, you’ll see patterns you can’t see worrying about today, or the next week in front of you.
Most business owners are putting out fires everyday, preventing them from doing what’s really important, doing work that matters. The fires, the urgent, distract you from what’s truly important, it takes you away from working in the important quadrant. If you were to put a value, or prioritize those fires you feel you must put out, there’s probably a good chance you can delegate them to someone else, so you can work on what’s important. But you probably feel those fires are too important to hand off to some else, so you continue spinning your wheels, I get it, the business just can’t run unless you handle everything.
The problem with looking ahead 3 – 5 years, we might miss something happening sooner. So the battle is between two heads, the desire for gain & the fear of loss. So it’s easier if we only care about today. Today fools you into believing there’s a tomorrow, it fools into hoping there’s a future. Only caring about today is the same as instant gratification, you’re not willing to wait, and you’re not willing delay that gratification.
The downward spiral starts when we only care about today. The future of your business is not in what fire you put out today, it’s preventing the fires from happening in the first place, by looking ahead, putting preventive measures in place to make sure there is indeed a future for your business. Proactive over reactive, which camp are you in?
How many times have we this, actions speak louder than words…it’s just another way of saying, it’s not what you say, it’s how you respond. Everything we do and say comes from some form of stimulus, we saw something, we heard something, and then we responded. I’ve said this before, and I teach it often, we are the ONLY creatures on earth that have the ability to STOP, THINK, THEN….decide how to respond. We can actually stop in the heat of the moment, every other creature on the planet can’t stop, they merely react.
Often, in our day…we have things happen that completely frustrate us, most of us react in a way that tells everyone around, you’re not happy with what just happened or was said. I run other businesses, and sometimes things happen that are truly out of your control, you can’t fix it, you don’t control the situation, you have to rely on other people not under your tent.
One of my businesses is a webhosting business, sometimes things break, and have nothing to do with me and my team, things don’t happen the way they should, and take far too long to get resolved. In the meantime, customers can’t do certain things, can’t manage their website’s, or add email accounts.
With so many webhosting companies getting attacked, I’m actually surprised their aren’t bigger problems. Everyday there attempts to break into servers, billing systems, and WordPress sites. The amount of work that goes into protecting yourself is staggering at times. Companies like GoDaddy & Hostgator go down regularly, sometimes unnoticed, other times they can’t hide….third-party software companies go through the same things. Most companies it’s licenses, they keep those licenses alive remotely (not locally), so when that third party company goes down, so does all their customers, we can’t run the software to play or run our businesses. When that happens, it’s out of my hands, out of my control, there is nothing I can do but wait! Then frustration sets in.
So, how do you respond when you find yourself in this out of control situation?
The point is, we can’t possibly control everything, and we can’t stay in a perpetual state of frustration and anger, it’s just not healthy, we have to learn how to wait, learn how to trust other people doing everything they can to resolve the problem(s). So when things go sideways, try to keep things in perspective, error on the side of grace, and let those who can actually solve the problem, do their job, waiting is sometimes part of the job, part of being in business.
Like I said, it’s not what you say, it’s how you respond. Sometimes what you say, is not how you should respond, stop, think about how you should respond in a calm rational way, then respond. It’s too easy to get mad. Someone once said, the first one to get mad loses.
I have tried to live a my life with consistency, I don’t tend to get mad, but sometimes my direct style of communication gets me in trouble. I’ve always told the truth, I don’t know how to lie, I was good at as a kid, but as an adult, a business person, it’s not a good practice. I would rather have influence over someone than authority, the later is not an effective way to manage people or run a business.
I hope this gives you some perspective, something to think about, something you can practice and put into action. People are watching, people are listening, and they are always assessing what kind of person / leader you are, don’t let what you say undo all the good you’ve done. It’s not what you say, it’s how you respond. If it makes you feel better, I’m having one of those days where my response may come from the dark side of Owen : )
I hope you read this post to the end, I think you’ll be surprised at what you learn, and we may have something in common. When I get asked, what do you do, I have to decide which answer I’m going to give, because I do so many things. I shared a while back, but you probably didn’t know, I run and own multiple businesses, one is a webhosting company called Billyhost.com. You would assume I do many things related to that business, and you would be right, but what you probably didn’t know about Owen is, not only do I build websites, but not just any website, I specialize in WordPress and Headway Themes, I don’t do any others. To make matters worse, I actually don’t enjoy the details of building websites, but the truth is, I’m good at it, and you should know, I’m not cheap.
My tech career started back in 1981 when I was in Radio, I was 23 going on 24, I’m now 57, and much has changed. Back then I had to learn how to program automation systems for radio stations, I also was the first radio station manager to run a traditional radio station from a computer, hard drive and DAT tapes, and a microphone, that’s it. That was 1991/92.
The second thing you would learn about me, if you meet me in person, I like to talk…I was in radio, it’s what I do. So I love to do public speaking, mostly on what I share here on this Blog, the open & free business model and how it shapes the future of business, that’s my passion! What I’m not good at is….writing, you probably figured that out already : )
I have worked for many non-profit organizations, sit on a number of boards, and I also check business plans for entrepreneurs, just to name a few other things. I have a background in broadcasting, IT, and Management, and I’m a geek. But I’m a different kind of geek, I’m a highly relational geek that values people over task, I would make a great players coach from that perspective in sports me thinks.
I share this with you because, well…you should know I’m more than just a one-dimensional person, most of us are, but we never tell anyone. I do many things, I wear many hats, which means I’m versatile and bring a lot to the table. That’s the business side of me, academic side if you will. I’m a business man, a visionary type, I have a deep passion for helping people see the changes coming in business. I don’t see everything, but some things seem obvious to me, but not to business owners to close to their problems, therefore they can’t see the forest for the trees. Once I’m inside someone’s business, and I get enough background, I automatically soar to 50,000 feet and look at the business for broken bits, and patterns. This tech career and passion for business, lead me to becoming a Futurist and public speaking on the topic of the open & free business model, the future of business.
I’m jumping all over, but I get like that when I get inside my head : ) Anyway!
The real thing you don’t know about me is this, I’m very insecure, and, I have had a sad broken-heart most of my adult life. I think most creative, artistic people live a life of suffering. I have always felt sad inside, everyday, just heart-broken, because the world I live in is seriously broken. My family and friends would tell me to suck it up, it’s the way things are, deal with it. I should mention, those words have never helped me…or anyone else I think.
I have always had to fight tooth and nail for everything I have, unsuccessfully most of the time, which I’m certain most of you have as well. But I never, ever gave up. When I was younger, I had to be liked, validated by others, I had to be the center of attention, and that’s when the sadness began, way back in High School if memory serves me. Today, I don’t need to be validated, I’m gonna do what I’m gonna do, whether you like it or not. I know that sounds wrong, but it’s the truth. I don’t agree or go along with much of what the masses say and do, I know I’m different, even weird, I don’t really fit in. But know this, I care a great deal for people, I believe people are the product, without them you’ll never have success or be fulfilled in anything you do.
I grew up in a time where you didn’t speak up against your parents, other adults, your teachers, or anyone in a position of authority. Hence, I was always in trouble, I always questioned the status quo, mostly because things didn’t make sense. I’ve always gone to the school of hard knocks, I learned more there than through traditional school formats. I always try to find new ways to fail, not on purpose, it just worked out that way. What doesn’t kill makes you stronger right?
I’m not sure if you’ll get anything out of this confession, but I hope you do, I can’t control the outcome of you reading this, that’s your job. My wish, deep down inside, is to change the world. I urge you to dig deep within, find what truly energizes you, the answer to the question of, “If time & money were no object, what would you do?”. I’m almost 60 years old now, I feel I haven’t done that which I was meant to do on this earth, but I journey on. As an encouragement, I don’t believe I have found that thing I was meant to do yet, which means, you’re never to old to find out, or to go out and do it, so don’t stop searching. Listen to your life and you’ll find some clues. Remember, you don’t build a life, you live one.
I’ve cracked myself open just a little so you could peer inside, I’ve shared weaknesses in me, you may think it’s silly, you probably don’t care, but you might glean something from this writing, something that may help you to keep going. The weaknesses in me are many, and now you know a few, but I have a wonderful business life, personal life, and family, and I love to help….I have conquered a few weaknesses in me, what’s your story, what are you hiding, what’s preventing you from being who you are meant to be, and more importantly, how are you changing the world, to make it a better place.
Steve Jobs once said,
“The people who are crazy enough to think they
can change the world, are the ones who do.”
Every time we make a new technology, a new tool, we make a new way of seeing. Learning to see is paramount, foresight is your friend, it can scare you, it can lead you, but it rarely shows you all the steps, and it never reveals the vision.
There are so many things to optimize, we’re distracted, busy schedules, work, family, technology, we believe collecting Likes & Followers is optimizing, it’s not, it’s another distraction from doing real work. The beautiful thing about technology, it allows us to do so much, more importantly, it allows you to define your own success.
Learning what to optimize requires balance, in work and in your personal life. Optimizing also needs clarity, understanding the why and learning to see make optimizing easier. Some learn quickly, while other’s take more time to find the balance, and how to see. The greatest commodity is time, we fight to use our time wisely; we have yet to master the problem of time, we’re all running out of it.
Most of us just want to live a healthy life, we think happiness can be bought, but it’s merely a decision you make, circumstances are the results of our thoughts and actions. If they are good, we did a better job of optimizing, if they’re not what we would prefer, we tend to deflect and blame it on others or something else. The answer is in it’s simplicity, stop, look, and listen comes to mind….our Mother’s taught us that age old lesson. If we could exercise that lesson more often, we would most likely be in a better place.
So take a different view of your business, maybe your personal life, from 50,000ft, what do you see, then make a list, what do you want to optimize?
Dare I be so bold to say it, Social Media is not a business model.
I struggle with the resistance of business owners still today, hanging onto old ways of doing things, trying be in control, running around in circles trying to keep up, business has changed / is changing to where you must deliver your product or service to your customers, if you don’t, they’ll click and be gone. It wasn’t long ago when you had to go to the store, we used film for pictures, we no longer need a land-line, and kept current reading newspapers, now we just have to make a few clicks on a mobile device!
Customers are taking away the business owners power, they are choosing how and when, and how much they’ll pay. This has very little to do with Social Media, it does have everything to do with how business really is, and eventually you will either embrace it, or continue to resist it…either way, you’ll have to change how think about your customers, and how you run your business. Sure there will always be certain types of business that need manual labour, but many of those jobs, as much as you don’t want to believe it, will be lost to automation, this technological change will be devastating to the families relying on those jobs.
This has very little to do with Social Media, it does however, have everything to do with The Open & Free Business Model!
Social Media is NOT a business model, you don’t plug your business into Social Media, you plug Social Media INTO your business.