To Grow Your Business, Start Creating Solutions Instead of Just Managing Problems
As humans, we often get distracted with supervising and conserving the extent and intricacies of what we have, but at some point management only gets us so far. Nature, at its core, creates. It creates and does it well and if it were sentient, it'd probably encourage you to do it too.
Whether it is time, money or clients, too many entrepreneurs focus their efforts on protecting and managing what they have rather than creating even more. At one point I have been guilty of this myself. However, over time I realized that this mindset only keeps entrepreneurs and their businesses back from reaching their true potential. In order to grow, one must create.
The act of creation does exactly what it says it will do: create. Before anything can be managed, it has to be created. For example, in the initial years of starting my business, like many entrepreneurs, I was often forced to significantly reduce my prices to secure a sale. I would sacrifice my profits, sometimes just barely break even, just to get a deal done. Other times, I would resist upselling my current customers because I was afraid of scaring them away to my competitors. My mistake was trying to protect my small customer base instead of finding ways to build it. I’ve learned that the only way around such a dilemma is to prospect so much that one, two or even ten lost sales wouldn’t even matter.
Although some may see the importance of creating solutions rather than managing problems, the fear of meeting the risks attached to such an act can keep them back. Thinking about birds migrating because of a shortage of food may help – they run the risk of losing their home while they find a temporary new one. It's a big risk traveling all that distance. They may starve on the way or lose some helpful bird friends in the flock that could have made spotting places to nest a bit easier. Maybe mates even fall victim to natural causes. Either way, migration is a hazardous act and puts a lot on the table. However, similar problems would have arose sooner or later as a result of managing their shortage of food instead of exploring ways to have more.
It's the same view I have on money. I once viewed money as something finite. As soon as my business brought in sales, I would push that revenue aside and watch it with eagle vision. I did not dare touch it. Reinvesting wasn’t my priority. The reason for this was, like many entrepreneurs, I wasn’t confident that I could make another lump sum of money. Grant Cardone said it best, "The only reason to hold on to something is if there is a shortage." I would very much prefer to be in a situation where my business had too much money that I didn’t know where to put it all than to be in a situation where my days were spent figuring out how to cover expenses and invest in expansion with too little money.
In the business world a situation of too many pencils, not enough paper would prove disastrous or even fatal. Think of wolves: out of a pack of about fifteen wolves there's usually only one or two alphas. The role of the alpha is to lead the packs into hunts and ensure that hunts don't fail while the rest of the pack executes the hunting strategy. The majority of the pack is focused on bringing in food - creating. If every wolf in the pack was an alpha, and focused on protecting the pack they would all die in starvation. This is the mindset entrepreneurs need to have. Manage, protect and conserve, yes. But most importantly create or your business will starve.
Another thing we humans tend to put our energy towards is managing time. I have found that the most successful entrepreneurs focus their efforts on maximizing time by finding ways to turn an hour into two or three extra hours. It's just like a tree that may be taking its time segregating cells and photosynthesizing. While doing that it may be creating new seeds and moving water up its roots. Maximizing time is a way of ensuring continued existence and success in the great game of business. Some ways to do this are by delegating projects that could have been handled by someone else, ceasing activities that don't help your overall goals and even cutting down on sleep time.
This even applies to natural selection: instead of managing a poor evolution, natural selection weeds out the organisms that don't work and creates newer, more efficient ones suitable for the environment and habitat.