Sustainable Business Learning Community Conversations, Nov 2014 - Dec 2014
Sustainable Business, Nov 20, 2014 Topic: Understanding Growth
Thoughts from last week's discussion on Time:
Sustainable Business, Nov 13, 2014 Topic: How We Use Time
Fermenting Ideas: Don't rush - allow ideas to grow, develop, "ferment"
What do we mean when we talk about Time? Generally we mean how long it takes, but not what work we do. Do you have a good understanding of the work involved in achieving your business goals?
- The less you know about the work required to run your business/produce a product or service, the less time you will estimate it will take to do that work.
- If you understand the work required but haven't done it before, you will underestimate how much time it will take - maybe by 2-3 times.
- If you have no idea of the work involved, you could underestimate the time required by 20 times or more.
Ask yourself: What work am I actually talking about? What decisions do I have to make? Do I even know what questions to ask?
What's your vision?
- Those looking for a short-term payback (who want to do things in the shortest amount of time possible) tend not to see a lot of opportunity.
- Those whose vision is more long-term see opportunity and take advantage of it.
What time frame do you live in? Do you make your decisions in a week? a month? a year? 10 years?
Experience: The more experience we have, the more flexible we can be with our time. We have a better sense of how long things will take and can plan accordingly.
Thoughts on time from the group:
- Time is an anchor
- Time is a deadline
- Time is structure
- "I don't do time"
- Make time for thinking, quiet, meditation
All events are processes:
- An event (in time) is just the logical outcome of all of the processes of work and collaboration that came before. So think of events as the outcome of those processes.
- Perhaps the process (the journey) is the destination.
Sustainable Business, Nov 6, 2014 Topic: Awareness of Time in Our Sustainable Businesses
* 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.