One of our most recent projects reminded me about the never-ending layers of bureaucracy and the slug-like speed at which things are sometimes accomplished (if that truly ever happens) in large corporations. This sort of thing can be somewhat frustrating for a virtual company proponent. Nevertheless, it has inspired me to keep a running list in my mind (and now here) on the slow & stodgy traits of the big boys vs. those of the small and nimble. Which list describes your business?
Does your business have these Slow & Stodgy Traits?
- Unnecessary people, doing unnecessary tasks, collecting unnecessary paychecks
- Very little ability to innovate because of past decisions and investments in software technology that limit growth potential
- Old, outdated processes created for reasons no one can now recall
- Invested in equipment that now sits in a storage room instead of selling it to create a profit
- Never questions the status quo or comparing your company to the best in class
- Employs those who prefer to impress the boss instead of doing what’s right
- Discounts the inherent wealth of knowledge buried within the company
- Builds silos, management layers and territories who operate independent of the larger organization and cannot share resources easily or effectively
Or are you one of the Small & Nimble who:
- Have the ability to turn on a dime – creating quick, workable solutions which solve client’s challenges
- Opt for the best in class which is not always the most expensive option
- Decide at the outset to build a company which will remain virtual and profitable
- Allow for smart and calculated growth
- Automate 90% of what they do
- Limit the number of full-time employees – as they consider this model to be outdated
- Are never afraid to toss out something that’s not working
- Constantly ask whether they can do better and improve the process and returns
- Run a company with a skeleton crew
- Plan, automate, improve, repeat.
Growth and profitability does not always mean that a company becomes weighted down and ineffective. Start now to build your company so that it stays lean and smart.
Recently Sanofi-Aventis made the news when they handed out pink slips to over 1,700 employees by phone. I won’t get into the callous delivery of this news – instead, I’ll just focus on the next steps for each of these people.
Some of them will seek a new position in the same industry. Even if you change some of the variables like choosing a smaller company, different industry, or alternate career path; these job seekers open themselves up to the same type of situation that just occurred. They are in essence buying time, but not stability.
Others, will strike out on their own, putting their expertise to work. This new group of consultants will end up owning their own jobs. While they do gain some additional control over their future, they often end up working harder than they ever did in the corporate environment.
Another smaller percentage will buy or create a system that makes them a business owner, hopefully with their eyes on employing other people. These people are looking at franchise opportunities and long-term growth.
The final group of people will become investors and take control of the resources made available in their 401k and severance packages to invest in their own future cash flow.
I’ve got to tell you that my bet is on the people that choose to buy or create systems and become smart investors. Gainful employment is not a bad thing mind you – it’s just that when you don’t have a plan to transition to something that provides you more security you become a sitting duck.
And I don’t like being a sitting duck –
I’m reminded today about what it takes to create your own empire, where your income is not dependent on market changes or pay days and can be centered around what you love to do. My brother Dale has been an entrepreneur since leaving Morehouse in the 80’s. During a conversation years ago, when I casually asked when his next payday was, he uttered three words that have remained with me to this day… “Everyday is Payday“.
Mind you, at that time I lived for my Friday direct deposit, so his words were hugely inspiring – opening up many new possibilities for me. I mean, why shouldn’t your income be ongoing? This might still be a novel idea for some of us – as it was for me. I’m guessing that niche marketers, entre or micropreneurs won’t be surprised by this at all unless your income is centered around one sales type. But I had been brainwashed into a 9-5 mentality – where my life plan was largely dictated by my JOB. As I navigated the ranks of corporate America over the years, I came to realize that I needed a new way of making income – one that would sustain my lifestyle and allow me to retire comfortably (which for me means working on the beach doing something I love).
I embarked on my Everyday is Payday Project, the project elements included:
- Highly active cash flow (high sales, low returns)
- Multiple niche markets within areas you are passionate about
- Automated online electronic delivery and offline service delivery components
- Knowledge based product & service revenue streams
- Company infrastructure can be duplicated easily
- Provides work/life balance and the ability to work anywhere in the world
- Something under my control – the more I put in, the more I receive
During the development of this empire-building plan, I explored many MLM programs – those selling technology, products, etc. I loved the energy and the positive messaging about achievement that often go hand-in-hand with these programs. But I realized that whether it’s a mind-numbing 9-5 or high-energy affinity/network marketing company you are still creating wealth for the top tier of the organization. And most importantly, you also end up promoting products and services you don’t really care much about. For me this is not a winning combination.