It's Not Who Thinks of it First, but Who Does It First That Matters

Also, answering your phone, Scrooge might have been on to something, and leaving a job you love

  • Many entrepreneurs delay acting on their idea because it seems too obvious.  But, some of the very best ideas are obvious only to those who come up with them.   Because the idea seems obvious, we assume others will act on it and we don't bother.  Instead of waiting to see if someone else is doing it, take a look around.  Is anyone else obviously working on your idea?  If not, there's no time like the present to get started!

  • Last year, a good friend of mine left a job she had loved for over two decades. She told me that it took two years to make the separation real. Paul Simon's song "50 ways to leave your lover" would routinely pop into her head as she tried to leave.  When I shared this article with her, she was amazed at how well it reflected the complicated feelings involved in transitioning.  The authors of this article say that "Sometimes it is necessary to leave a job or an organization in order to love our work better."  For my friend, the past year has been a process of redefining the way that the work she loved fit into her new life and she is much happier with this new way of loving her work. If you are considering a change and finding it difficult to leave your love, this article will help you sort through the complex nature of your relationship with your job and help you find your way to leave.

  • As a start-up, you need to gain momentum before running out of money.  Financial statements are helpful but if you are trying to grow quickly, the most important information is not in your financial statements.  Instead, you need to look forward at indicators related to customer acquisition and cash flow. For customer acquisition focus your attention on how many customers you can expect to reach as a result of your marketing expenditures and then, what percentage of customers who consider a purchase actually complete it and how many purchase again.  Since cash is king, you also need to focus on cash flow including how long it takes to close a sale and how quickly you will burn through your cash in hand. Learn more about the whys and hows of answering these questions.

  • Being a bit of a Scrooge might not be all bad.  A focus on positive thinking has been all the rage for a while now.  But, as with all things, balance is important.  In fact, some people are motivated by envisioning success while others are more motivated by avoiding negative outcomes.  "When we're overwhelmingly positive, we're unlikely to experience stress or anxiety -- two emotions that galvanize us to try harder and strive for more."  But, it is also important to keep the positive in mind, lest we become "so paralyzed by stress that it's hard to take action."

  • You may be missing important calls from customers and clients, trusting them to leave you a message or call back during business hours.  What, you need to sleep and can't work 24/7?  Have you considered an answering service?  They aren't just for your doctor's office!  An answering service can make sure that anyone who calls you interacts with a live person, helping you build relationships with your customers from their very first call.