February 17, 2009

IT'S 'TIME TO GET UNSTUCK'

People are constantly asking about how my business is going.

Ninety-five percent of the time, I'm honestly of stuck for an answer. (You would have thought they asked me to define quantum physics and its relationship to the law of attraction.)

If there was only a simple way to capture the following bullet points in one sentence:

• I love what I'm doing;
• I totally believe in our product and service;
• I'm inspired by our emphasis on giving back,

BUT...

• We our cash flow is a glorified trickle, and
• I feel totally paralyzed.

Try explaining that quagmire to someone as you exchange pleasantries in the dairy section of the grocery store.

A fellow entrepreneur, who I tend to use as a sounding board and source of inspiration, was able to find a blog post that beautifully nailed my current situation with a poetic metaphor. More importantly, it provided a game plan that has kicked my butt into gear. (Thanks, Mike!)

Here are some of the highlights:

• INITIAL QUESTION: "Do you ever find yourself feeling like you’re business isn’t moving anywhere?"

• METAPHOR: The ultimate family vacation and car trouble.

• THE BOTTOM LINE: "If you’re feeling a little stuck right now, you have a choice: You can either stay stuck or you can look for the shift you need to get back in motion toward your dreams."

Read the whole blog post by clicking here.

1 comment:

BNSKI said...

I felt the same way after shortly after I started my eWeb business 3-4 years ago. After almost a year of developing a business plan, fancy 20 quarter projections, "proofs of concept", raising starting capital, logos, website, finding some employees, office spaces. Yip yip yahoo.

6 months into it, I felt completely stuck. Anxiety, couldn't sleep most nights, I was slowly losing confidence in my product/service, investor pressures (not for dollar profits or returns, but meeting customer level goals we decided on a year before in some spreadsheet, how they wanted the business to grow). It gets hard to keep up the smiles after awhile.

Then I realized one day that I was just "playing business".

I began fixing that wasn't working, literally overnight. I thew out the wonderful projections the investors and I decided on that weren't obtainable in practice. Got out of contracts, overheads that were smothering the cash flow. Ended up firing a good friend. Right sized the ship. I pissed off alot of people, spent the next 2 years fighting with the investor over these decisions. Because I wasn't "playing business" per their wishes.

I had a $56k net loss those first six months. The six months that followed this, began showing a profit/break even - continued to grow from there. I would have been out of business, had I not took control of it from "myself".

Most people work for someone, they don't get it. Most of your investors are in larger/established businesses or, have never run a small business - those who have... usually forget the shit times during the early months and years (in hindsight they remember them fondly). "Starting" a small business can be fun, exciting. Keeping it going and growing is hard. Define it as you like, but avoid the temptations to "play business".

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