The universe sometimes conspires. I spent a good part of today talking with a colleague about how important is is for a small business owner to understand his or her core business, AND to orient all activity towards furthering the core business. Then I realized, I haven’t been following my own dictums. Oh dear, it’s easy to get lost.
While I started out as a consultant and live seminar leader, over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to have my ideas published and read, created a number of learning tools that have been successful, and developed more than ten successful websites. Over 17 years, of course the focus has shifted in response to my own learning, but also in response to my interests and the kind of life I wanted. there’s only so long you can travel around doing seminars before it starts to seem old, and you get stale.
It all worked well during a positive growing economy. But it didn’t work so well during the recession. Why? I lost touch with my core business, which is to create and put great learning tools into the hands of people like you — my customers. What that meant was somewhere along the way, I ended up tweaking websites, making them better looking, more functional.
Where’s the problem?
I forgot why I had websites. To support the core business. The time spent tweaking the websites (which by the way is an endless process) started to eat into each and every day. Exciting. Fun, even. But let’s face it. Whether I use a gray background, or a textured gray background is pretty much irrelevant to the mission and core business of my company. As is experimenting with Twitter, with LinkedIn, or other social networking platforms.
I’d like to say, it didn’t harm my business. It’s not a lethal blow. But I realize now that I should have spent time writing and creating new tools — after all, that’s what I built my business on. Good quality material for my customers.
The Moral of the Story
It’s easy to get pulled from your core business in the pursuit of marketing, or the latest technology, and it all seems so sensible at the time. It’s a slow process, but the next thing you know, you have changed the very nature of your business. I had to ask myself: Am I in the business of marketing? No, I’m not. I don’t want to be. I need to attend to it, but when the marketing pulls energy away from core business, there’s a problem.
I’d love to hear your comments, particularly if you have been through a similar experience, or found techniques to keep you focused on what is important — the reason you are in business, which is almost certainly where your strengths are.