Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Hard heads for hard times

It was one of those magical days in Paris, just around Bastille Day 2006. I was zooming around the streets with folks from a mastermind retreat on Segways. You've seen these contraptions -- they look like a scooter with out the back end. There is no motor - your body position keeps them going. Some folks find them great fun or at least useful. I wasn't so sure. But I was getting the hang of it and it was an adventure. Then some folks stepped right in front of me...did I mention there are no brakes? The machine stopped dead and the law of physics took over...in other works, I fell backwards and my head hit the pavement...luckily I was wearing a helmet. My companions rushed over but all that was hurt was my pride...it goeth before a fall, you know.

I was thinking about that Segway ride and that fall and my hard head. My mother always claimed I had a hard head. I've come to believe it's a good thing. In fact, as a small business owner, it may be one of my most important assets in these hard times.

These are not times for the faint-of-heart to be in business...there are tough decisions every day. Every aspect of the business must be examined while asking that simple strategic question: Is this going to help me accomplish my mission or will it move me away from it?

You see the question is NOT, "should I spend this money on X?" It's not even "will this give me return on investment?" And it's definitely not, "Where can I cut expenses more?"

In hard times, you must be hardheaded and ask a different set of questions: "Of all the things I could be spending my time and money on, which will move me toward accomplishing my goals?" "What are my priorities for success?" "What will I lay aside so my energies are focused on the most important things?"

Sure it's tough out there. Everyday we could hear some bad news...as predictable as the thunder storms that roll through here in South Florida almost every afternoon. Let the economic storms roll. This hardheaded business owner is taking a page from the Founding Fathers. They certainly faced hard times...there was a price on their heads...but they focused their energies on success. They envisioned a republic that had never existed before. They made it a reality. Their hardheaded determination helped inspire that first Bastille Day.

So remembering all that serves as a guide for today. When you fall off your plan, get up and go again. Create a different future and hardheadedly make it happen. Innovate. Invigorate. Instigate.

No comments: