Back to the Future

Sometimes we need to step back from what we are doing and reflect on what worked in the past, how we acted or responded to a new piece of information, or what had to change in a previous project or activity and then move forward.  Summary review may just be what’s needed in order to move to the next level.

Learn from the past, focus on the future!

          1.  No idea is a bad idea; some fit and some don’t.

2.  Don’t live in a vacuum.  Seek knowledge from those around you.

3.  Unlearn everything and re-learn it to fit today’s economy.

          4.   Mistakes are a learning tool, keep making wise mistakes.

One of my favorite quotes, H.G. Wells was a man ahead of his time, and master of his thoughts.  His philosophy was as true as the day he pronounced

Adapt or perish, now as ever, is nature’s inexorable imperative.”- H.G. Wells


Scar Tissue Story

I began my involvement with a particular company by serving as a project consultant; creating and implementing processes to improve my client’s business.  After 12 years in business, the only process in place was “what the owner says, goes.”  This particular company (of which I ended up managing for the owner), was noted in its community as the best of its type.  Not only that, the owner was well respected, considered by nearly everyone to be a “great guy” and “extremely successful” yet he didn’t have much of a clue how to run a business, was in debt up to his ears, and was at a loss of what to do about maintaining, let alone growing his business.  Insisting that I work without limitations on whatever I decided, I took a company that was 12 years old and never grossed more than $900,000 in a year to more than $4.5 million in less than 3 years.  How, by adapting and learning what was working and what was holding us back.  How did the company get started and why, what were the original goals compared to the goals of today, how the family was affected by the decision to go into business, and how are they affected now, and much more study of the past.  He clearly had developed his brand on a local level, but we needed a bigger reputation and garner regional or national respect.  In the end, all was achieved, and more.

As an entrepreneur or emerging enterprise, you have spent time, energy and money growing your business from the napkin idea stage to where it is today.  You’ve done that by continually providing excellence in all you do, from product or service, to order fulfillment, after sale customer support and the consistent “customer is king(queen) mentality of everyone on your team.  But what else can you do to grow, beyond doing everything you already are?  Then answer my friends, is a lot!  Start where all things start, the beginning. 


Back to the Future

Unlearn everything you know, from the basic forward.  The current marketing ploys or strategies may not be right for today’s customer.  How you approach the employee retention subject may no longer be fit for today’s staff member.  Identify what you need to keep your top people, and where you can find suitable replacements for those that don’t measure up.  Take a look at your original vision and dream for your company.  Are you on target to Nirvana, or have you taken detours to somewhere else? 

Review every single aspect of your enterprise, from the most basic of tenets to the most significant aspects that make you what you are.  If you have staff, use their brains to think up and wring out ideas that will grow the revenues, shrink the expenses, market your way to a new niche.  These people live in the world, and are not only consumed by the business as the owner is.  Stop, look and review, then modify, add, detract and morph into something better, bigger, stronger.   

Anyone can learn new things; anyone.  The ego MUST be put in the side drawer of the furthest cabinet from the desk, but anyone can learn.  You have to be open minded and sincerely interested in changeGet your ego out of the way, and your eyes might open to new things.

Look, nobody is perfect!  We all make mistakes, but it is what we do with the information gleaned from the error that makes us better.  The next time you screw up something, take a few moments to analyze what it is that could have worked better, what other decision could you have made, or what should you avoid in situations like this again.  Knowledge is power, so gain some of both by taking a look at your mistakes. 

Scar Tissue Advice:  Review everything as I described it above.  See what has changed and what remains true today, what mistakes you make and how you fixed them, and learn from all of it. 

Make a conscious action plan to grow every day.  Don’t do anything else but focus on what can be done to grow.  If, at the end of a day you have not done anything to grow your enterprise, your day is not complete. You failed today if you haven’t done a single thing to move the enterprise forward.  Don’t rest until you make a positive impact at some level on your enterprise daily.

Moral:  “Either you are growing or you are dying; nothing short of that.  You’re either in business, or running a going out of business sale: the plain truth.” – DJ Dunworth


About davidjdunworth

Dunworth’s success comes from a simple belief; “I can sleep when I am dead; then there will be plenty of time for that!” Since the door to door days of his youth, Dunworth has opened, managed and sold more than 25 businesses, and works as a consultant to entrepreneurs and emerging enterprises. His advice for entrepreneurs desiring to grow quickly: “Find the busiest man or woman you can find and enlist their support. You’d be amazed at the results.”
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6 Responses to Back to the Future

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