I really appreciated the analogy of the flywheel in the articles I read this week (pulled from Good to Great).
I think this image gives a good idea of what I pictured in my mind as I read the analogy:
Turn that wheel on it’s side and start pushing. It will take a while to get it to go around once, then twice. Eventually, however, it will be going fast enough that you won’t have to push so hard and will actually have to run to keep up.
The same can be said for your business. Little steps will gain momentum over time. We can’t expect greatness to be an immediate result of a good decision.
Greatness comes from perseverance, sweat, blood and tears. It comes from pushing when it doesn’t feel like you’re moving. It comes from within ourselves and only manifests itself when we’ve truly given it our all.
Put your shoulder to the flywheel and keep pushing. You’ll get there.
Another slow week. Sales are down but not completely nonexistent. I know why though… I didn’t advertise as much as I should have. To be honest, I had a busy week for other reasons (my full-time job and some family from out of town) so I needed for sales to be slower this week.
That’s a lesson learned for me too though. If a business owner is running their own business and continues to turn a profit, if they’re willing to take a slow week in order to spend time with their family, that’s within their control (to some extent).
The second question asked in Alma 5 is:
“…have you sufficiently retained in remembrance his mercy and long-suffering towards them?”
He’s still speaking of your “fathers” here. The second step to becoming self-aware is to think of all of the things those who came before you were blessed with. You’ve already remembered all of the hard things and the difficult times they endured for you. Now think of the good things.
When we think of the bad things, all of those times when we were frustrated because of a response we received to something we did soften a little.
When we think of the good things in those who came before us, we realize that many of the good things in us came from them.
Where remembering the bad things brings us a sense of understanding, remembering the good things brings us a sense of gratitude.
Step 1: Learn where you come from and why you think the way you do (understand where you come from).
Step 2: Be grateful for the things, tangible or not, that you already have.
Sales are still good, though slow. There was a spike in the beginning but now that everyone has tasted the goods, they’re slow.
One of the lessons learned: keep advertising. People act on what they see but once it’s out of sight, it truly is out of mind. To keep selling we really have to keep advertising.
In our case, that means Facebook. Because we’re local and because our customers are really only our family and friends in the area, we have to keep it in front of them in order to continue selling.
Step 1 to Self-Awareness: Learn where you come from and why you think the way you do.
How do we measure our own Emotional Intelligence? If we are lacking in the self-awareness category, can we even begin? I believe we can and I believe that the Book of Mormon gives us a good guideline for becoming self-aware and helping us with our relationships with others.
The questions I’ll be bringing up in this series of posts will be coming from Alma chapter 5.
The first question he asks is this:
“…have you sufficiently retained in remembrance the captivity of your fathers?”
The first step is to apply the question to ourselves. For many of us, our fathers weren’t in captivity, so how can this possibly apply?
Let me suggest this…
We were raised by our parents/guardians. We think and act the way we do, largely because of how we were raised. Many people even try to justify making bad decisions on their upbringing and lack of opportunity. It stands to reason then, that our parents’/guardians’ actions stemmed from the same place – how they were raised. Our parents likely taught us what they knew, the best way they knew how.
Now let me ask the question again.
Have you, sufficiently, remembered or learned where your parents came from and why they taught you the things they did the way they did?
Do you know where your thought processes come from?
Until you do, you can’t change them (if that’s what you’re looking to do).
Step 1 to Self-Awareness: Learn where you come from and why you think the way you do.
We all have stuff we need to work on in order to become better people. Below is a list of things we can work on to help us become better leaders, and consequently, better people.
Start with Fixed Principles
- Know your purpose
- Be consistent
- “Do what I do” not “Do what I say”
- Have team spirit
- Don’t be afraid of close friendships
- Be virtuous; have a moral and ethical code
Strive to Understand Others
- Listen to others
- Listen to your own conscience
- Don’t be condescending
- Be patient
- Be candid and forthright without being overbearing
- Be kind, yet firm
- Seek to understand them deeply – know the cause, not just the action
- Lead, don’t control
- Don’t take away the freedom of others
- Keep perspective
- Involve others
- Give helpful corrective feedback
- Believe in what they’re capable of now, what they have the potential to do, and let them know it
- Be lovingly and reasonably demanding
- Match the task to the ability while stretching them a little to become better
- Create opportunities for lasting changes
- Be accountable
- Hold others accountable
Manage Your Time Well
- Afford rest, relaxation, rejuvination, and recreation without avoiding responsibility
- Time management = self management
The sales are still coming and I am shocked.
I knew there was a need, but I didn’t realize the magnitude of it.
Apparently, people love chocolate chip cookies, especially when they’re homemade. We’ve made so many cookies over the past two weeks.
I was able to sell the cheesecake that was cancelled and one of the people that tried it ordered another one. I have an order to fill for Father’s Day that we will be customizing slightly. It will increase the cost, but I’m not going to increase the price because I know it will generate at least one more order.
The cookies are what’s so shocking to me. I thought everyone knew how to make chocolate chip cookies and while I’ve never had ones this good before, I figured that everyone else had a specific preference. I was wrong.
This is fun!
Even when they’re not.
I enjoyed learning more about the importance of customer service and especially appreciated the inclusion of the employees as customers. Good, satisfied employees create loyal satisfied customers. Loyal customers come back and bring their friends.
Employers should strive to hire people with the right attitude, knowing that they can teach them the skills they will need.
Employees should believe in the company as much as the owner does, but the owner (and management) have to show that they believe in it, not just that they’re there for the paycheck.
These were all good reminders to me and something for me to remember as I begin my own business.
Years ago, I sat through an 8-hour Franklin-Covey course designed to help me manage my time better. It worked and I’ve been using that system ever since. In preparation for that class, I had to read the entire 7 Habits book. It has been a very effective tool in my life, even though I haven’t visited with it since.
This week I had the opportunity to review the book in a summary format. I couldn’t get enough of the article. It took me three days to get through it and my notes are extensive. This time, with about 13 years of experience under my belt since the last time we met, I would like to take each habit and work on them individually, incorporating the advice given in Mastery. While realizing that I won’t perfect these habits in this life, keeping them in my memory and bringing them more into focus within my daily activities will help me to get closer to perfecting them.
The one that stood out to me the most, and the one I’m going to work on first, is the first one: Be proactive. I didn’t choose this one purely because it’s first. This one resonated with me and with some of the things I have going on right now. I’ve lost a lot of the skill that comes with this habit and it’s past time to start practicing again. I’ll start with this quote:
“Being proactive doesn’t mean being pushy, aggressive or insensitive. Rather, proactivity means to control a situation from the inside out. Or in other words, to affect positive change, stop focusing on the immediate circumstances and instead consider your response to the conditions that exist. … We are free to choose our response to any situation…”
I haven’t been doing a very good job of choosing my response. Instead I’ve been allowing myself to react to things without taking control of my own situation. It’s time to change that. I cannot and will not grow until I do.
Adapted from The E-Myth Revisited (clearly I’m learning a ton from this book!).