Blowing Up Your Business

blowing up old ways
Yes, you can get free before things blow up. From David’s Flickr photostream.

I wish I were not always a creature of habit. But I’m afraid I fall into routines and comfort zones like anyone else. Those grooves carved out in my brain pull me towards a self-automation that is hard to break. It has it’s advantages. I don’t have to think about managing projects and knocking out tasks. That’s a habit that’s hard-coded.

But it can be hard to pivot when I’m used to working a certain way.

It’s why I can understand how challenging it is for a business that has been working a certain way for years to become complacent and vulnerable. That heavy, complex database may have made sense a few years ago, but speed has become more important, so now it has become an albatross.

Or you could be shackled by headcount that grew out of once appeared to be necessity. Automation has made it possible to avoid manual handling of information, much less the errors it introduces.

I like to ask the question,

If you were to start this business today, would it be set up totally different?

It’s hard to blow up a business in light of this honest question. Yes, it can be much more streamlined, cheaper to operate, and with less drag. You could have speed, agility and better agreements with partners and talent. I’m sure of it, regardless of where you are at.

But blowing up a business cuts right into those emotional commitments you have made. You got used to the way things have been set up and it has become a comfort zone. And we frame our thinking around what is relative not absolute. We compare to yesterday, not to what’s out there available to us in the market – the knowledge, technology and benchmarks.

If you are aligned with what is happening around you, then the best way to manage such risk of obsolescence and cost is to blow up your business every six months. Never assume what you are doing is gospel. How you are set up likely has a lot of holes in it compared to what new knowledge you have gained over time. Plenty of vendors in the marketplace are working extremely hard to refine, innovate and automate what you are doing.

Yes, it can be uncomfortable to blow up your business. But sitting around and waiting for your competition or the market force your hand will be even more painful and even detrimental.

So, if you had to start today knowing what you know, how would your business look? Different, eh?