Were you to ask 100 entrepreneurs any question on how they run their business, you’d be like to get back about 300 different answers. I’ll grant you, there would be strong themes that reoccurred in their many of those answers, but even so they would each still be unique. There simply is no one “correct” path to business acumen. Each of us brings our personality to our work. Each of brings our priorities to our work.
Not only will we not agree on the answer, but we’ll disagree on the question’s nature too! Not everyone is running their business with the same bottom line in mind. Some are looking to most effectively utilize their resources with a strictly fiscal focus, while others are looking to enrich their communities and are happy to trade one type of profitability for another. And the differences aren’t strictly external; the trend towards a triple bottom line even has us weighing social, environmental, and financial priorities within our organizations.
Best of all, it really doesn’t matter. That’s my point; it doesn’t matter if we look at the question and its myriad of answers differently. It doesn’t matter how you arrive at the particular goals you’ve set for your business. What matters is that we each have goals for our businesses and we each have ways of achieving those goals. Some are clearly more efficient than others, and some are clearly more pleasant than others. Different Strokes for different folks. Keeping your goals in sight is key; do not let what you want from your business waiver. But your methodologies should not be so constrained. How we reach those objectives can, and some days must, change like the wind. Like Ms Atwood suggests, we need to be like water, and go with the flow of our respective marketplaces. We need to change with the times, and not become hidebound to a particular set of procedures. I’m talking small “A” agile here. Do what you can, with what you have, to move closer to your immutable goals. If what worked last week isn’t working this week, try something new. Research new methodologies, and new advances in your industry. Don’t fall into the “this is how we’ve always done it” trap. It’s generally not true. (Don’t believe me, just try and send a fax to someone.)
Change is inevitable, so let’s embrace it. Each time you change your practices, don’t discard the old ways entirely. Just because they don’t suit your needs now, doesn’t mean they won’t be useful again down the line. Document them; keep them in your toolbox of institutional knowledge. Grow that toolbox! It’ll just give you more options for when the next round of inevitable change arrives.