“Procrastination is opportunity’s assassin”. Victor Kiam.
Pretty much all SME Business Owners will have experienced procrastination around their business development activity at one time or another and there are 3 MAJOR reasons for this. In fact I keep using the word “procrastination” but other terms may resonate with you more, like feeling stuck or dissatisfied with your progress, or being really busy but nor moving forward. Before you can take the reins back and really go for it, it helps to understand where this is coming from.
In my next blog I will be outlining the 3 MAJOR causes but first let me define what I mean by “Business Development” activity. I mean the activity that will help your business to change and grow as you want. So this could be around visioning, identifying business strategy and planning, sales and marketing, introducing/launching new products or services, outsourcing and/or building a team etc. etc. We often hear about the need to “work on our business”, well this is business development activity.
In Steven Covey’s books ‘First Things First’ and ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ he introduces what has now become one of the most well known time management frameworks for prioritising work. They say that inhabiting quadrant 2 will enable you to identify your primary roles and principles which provides a “true north” and reference for when deciding what activities are most important, so that decisions are guided not merely by the “clock” of scheduling but by the “compass” of purpose and values. This can then lead to a focus on long-term goals, at the expense of tasks that appear to be urgent, but are in fact less important.
This matrix helps to classify tasks as urgent and non-urgent on one axis, and important or non-important on the other axis. Where would you place the bulk of your activity at the moment?
His quadrant 2 has the items that are non-urgent but important. These are the ones he believes we are likely to neglect; but, should focus on to achieve effectiveness. How much time do you currently spend there?
How does this link to business growth?
My take on it is that quadrant two is the starting point of proactivity (being able to work back from what you want into meaningful action). In order to successfully design the business you want and in turn apply yourself to the day to day business development activity required, you have to spend enough time in quadrant two to make sure you have your ‘compass’ set to North so that when you are in quadrant 1 busy working your plans you’re working plans that are purposeful, that will lead to where you want go.
It also explains to my why and how you can be really busy and still not effective as you can be busy reacting to the urgent (sometimes important, sometimes not) stuff that comes your way, where sometimes you will have a choice and sometimes not.
With the most important growth and developmental activities for yourself and your business, it’s all too easy to let it go by the wayside whilst being busy spending valuable time on things that will keep you where you are and thus it’s easy to develop a habit of procrastination or avoidance in the areas that are most important through to lack of practice. You have to take control and choose to do it. Be Proactive!
The challenge is that this requires you to step up and out of your comfort zone and really make a push for more and different. So often we are reactive and focus on what comes to us with ease which means we are not being proactive and creating what we want, we are living with what we get. As a business owner you need to decide what you want to create and work backwards into purposeful proactive activity in the areas vital to developing and growing your business if you want things to change and to have any chance of building the successful business and fulfilling life you truly want.
But hold on…..we know all this already don’t we?!!! So why are we still feeling stuck and procrastinating?