Sustainable Business Learning Community Conversations, Nov 2014 - Dec 2014

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Sustainable Business, Nov 6, 2014 Topic: Awareness of Time in Our Sustainable Businesses

Take your time.png


* How do we think about time from a sustainability point of view?

* What time frame are we talking about? Are we building something to last 100 years? 50 years?

* Do we take into consideration the long term consequences of our actions/decisions?

The Culture of Fast:

  • Aren’t business accelerators a good thing? Our culture values speed in business endeavors and entrepreneurs believe that the quicker they get their business up and running, the quicker the profits will start rolling in.
  • This idea of “Hurry up and get it out - you can fix it later” is really not a sustainable way of doing business.
  • What does fast mean in this context? How do we define fast and slow?
  • Go slow to go fast. Take the time to reflect and do things right the first time.
  • It takes as long as it takes. Shorter isn’t better, longer isn’t better.
  • Being less rushed means less pressure on you. Take time to go through the learning process, build relationships, think things out clearly.
  • Haste makes waste - Rushing into a business that hasn’t been well thought out will consume more of your time and money.


  • Entrepreneurs need to be open to community. Don’t be defensive and closed.
  • A healthy community can help you identify problems and opportunities.
  • The best solutions emerge out of communities.
  • Communities can provide you with encouragement when things are difficult or not going as well as you would like.
  • Listen to others in your community - reflect and be aware. You will be less likely to fall into trouble with your business.


  • Allow time for things to take shape. All entrepreneurs have to have perseverance - they have to be able to dedicate time to their business.
  • All businesses have their own learning and growing pains. You have to allow yourself the time and energy to work through them.

Nothing good in business happens fast (Paul Saginaw - Zingerman’s Deli). It took Zingerman’s 3 years to get a bagel on their menu. They didn’t want to just sell a bagel. They wanted to do the work that would produce a really good bagel that people would love and that they wouldn’t have to re-work.

Process vs. Production:

  • Do you value the process? The up-front time that you must spend to learn about and plan your business and perfect a product or service?
  • Do you even know what to do with that time? Do you know what kind of questions to ask?
  • Protestant work ethic: if you’re not working, you’re wasting time. Our culture doesn’t value process - we value production. Anyone can conjure up a product in 10 days, but the process is what will pay off.
  • Give yourself time for creative thinking - thinking and reflection has value. Let ideas “ferment.”
  • Do the groundwork. What does your community need?
  • Admit when things are going wrong and be willing to make changes or change direction.