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The rhythm of business

Published on December 1, 2016

rhythm

It’s been a year of upheavals: I’ve moved house twice this year and helped my aged aunt re-locate. So I count myself a bit of an expert in the removals business. I’m no stranger to hard work – I’ve watched it for hours – and observed that my concern that they wouldn’t finish in time, which built to its peak after about 40% of the time when there was no real sign of progress, coincided with an acceleration to a timely conclusion. Humping stuff keeps them fit. But, like Ed Balls, their movement is not what inspired me to think of the waltz when discerning their rhythm: slow, slow, quick, quick, slow. Or as Chris would describe it – Survey; Box; Load; Drive; Deliver.

Which got me to wondering what else falls to this rhythm? Here’s my list, so far:

  • Building work, where it takes ages for things to get off the drawing board and then everyone exclaims “look it’s already up”. It involves planning permission; finance; building (often from pre-fabricated parts); fitting out; and eventually the final account.
  • Selling, where the search can seem endless until a prospect crops up. The steps are – research the market; form relationships; identify the need; issue the proposal; sign the contract.
  • Business planning where understanding how the business really works is critical. So the steps are – analyse; model; write; recruit; finance.

If I’m right then there are a couple of useful things to take away:

  1. Don’t panic if after 40% of the time you seem to have not made much progress. But make sure that by 42% there are some signs.
  2. When things do seem to be happening don’t take your foot off the pedal and end up with nothing because the last piece didn’t get started in time. At FD Solutions we’re used to people saying that the proposal has been issued so the sale will happen very soon; and that the business plan is in place it just needs the finance. The trouble is that the commitment of others – a contract – takes longer than putting everything else in place. This is because, in my view, even when a person knows that rationally it’s right to buy the product or make the investment, their emotions haven’t caught up. It’s only when they feel emotionally committed that you can execute the plan properly because “thoughts produce decisions but emotions (“e-motions”) produce actions”.

So make sure that you factor this lag into your planning because otherwise you’re likely to run out of money. Which could mean that you’ll have to start the waltz again. Or worse, learn the cha cha.