Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A Tide In The Affairs Of Business

In our business I hear a number of potential clients procrastinate getting going because times are tough, sales are down, the market is down, the recession, or fill in the blank. I understand how people can feel that way, and I might swim upstream with them a stroke or two, but I am also cognizant that this strategy rarely pays off, so I let it go and move on.

I also hear people say that as soon as sales come back, we will go with you. I've also learned to believe this is not a truth, but a justification.

Fortunately, there are plenty who are ready to get going.

What I really want to say to the procrastinators is my favorite quote of all time by William Shakespeare. It is this: "There is a tide in the affairs of men, when taken at the flood, leads on to fortune."

This wonderful quote tells me many things. Among them are:

Preparation and Building Can't Wait, So Get Going. One cannot take advantage of the flood if you are not ready for it. This means to prepare by getting started and building. The longer one waits, the less preparation or building can be done in order to take advantage of the business flood when it is flooding.

When it comes to the Internet, the value is in the continuous building layer upon layer upon layer. Wait until the market is back strong and then get started? It won't happen. People get busy, and it never gets done. They see a rise, but they never see the flood, and even if they could, they wouldn't be prepared for it.

We know this and so we began this enterprise and we have patiently continued to layer and are just now achieving substantial results from that four year foundational effort.

Be Flexible And Willing To Change. I started Upward Trend in January 2008, but I had a what I now call a transitional business that began part time in mid-2004. It was an eBay business and I worked it as hard as I could with the time constraints I had. When I began, it seemed to take a long time to get up to 50 feedback score. Any of you who have sold on eBay probably know what I'm talking about. Since 50 seemed far away, 100 was way out and 500 was years away, let alone higher numbers. I just set a goal for 50 and when I made it set a goal for 100, then 250, then 500, then 1,000, then 5,000, then 10,000 and I have over 11,000 feedback score. If I would have waited, I would still have less than 50.

As I built it from one item on eBay to eventually over 12,000 items, there were many, many changes. A lot of them came from eBay, and others in the way I chose to operate the business. Indeed, it seemed like things were constantly changing. But, it was also growing.

This business was released as a business finally in 2010 because I needed to focus on Upward Trend and other enterprises, but the value of what I learned in the process of doing this eBay business is so valuable to what I do today.

We also completely redesigned our Upward Trend business in early 2010 from the beginning in 2008. We went from selling a product to selling services. It was a complete change in the way we did business.

Be Willing To Learn. I own an Internet marketing company where we build websites, blogs and much more. In October 2007 I built my very first website. In early April of 2008, I didn't even know what a blog was. We have now built or are building over 95 websites and currently manage 87 blogs, over 165 facebook pages, 95 twitter pages and much more--and we've only just begun to expand that.

To say that I had to be willing to learn (and learn fast) is an understatement. It is also amazing what you can learn in a short period of time. Without this willingness to learn, I wouldn't even have a business, let alone a successful one.

There are some things I can hire others to do, but as a business owner, I need to know what and how things are done. I no longer build websites and essentially stopped doing that almost three years ago by finding someone who was better at it to do it for us. But I can still do it if I need to. I'm learning something new, often many things every single day.

Consider The Value Of Layers. I call them layers of knowledge or learning or ability or skill. One by one, the add unto each other to create something more than they were alone. Each and every experience with a client, each and every problem that comes up, each and every new change on facebook, our website building program. All of these are layers and there are hundreds of them. Each layer is valuable. It may not seem like it at the time, but they are valuable. Looking back, I can see how valuable they are and I have now learned to appreciate the layers as they come. I have become grateful for each and every layer.

Think of it as the journey without any specific destination. You just know a direction you are going for now and it is appealing, so you layer the experiences of learning, growing, becoming, along the way. Your flexibility will come into play whenever the direction might need to change, but by understanding the value of the layers or the journey and being grateful for each layer makes is all more than worthwhile--it makes it joy.

Tides ebb and flow. An ebb tide is a perfect time to get going. I know it for a fact.

No comments: