Often, when we sit down and talk with prospective clients, we hear a common thread. “Right now, things are crazy.”
“Right now, there’s not enough work, and I need to focus on drumming up more business.”
“Right now, we are crazy busy, and I need to drive operations.”
“I hear you, and I agree wholeheartedly with your ideas and your plans, and I want to work together, but first, I need to get some space.” Sound familiar?
My Dad is not a big talker, and he’s not a big giver of advice. A couple of years after Jason and I got married, we were looking at buying our first house. We were drinking coffee at the dining room table at Mom and Dad’s house on a Sunday afternoon (before we bought the house, that’s where we did our laundry every weekend.) Conversation had turned idle, and we were talking about family. We had to find a house, build out a nursery, take some time to let our finances stabilize after the major change of becoming homeowners. Maybe then we could start thinking about a baby.
In the midst of that lazy Sunday conversation, my Dad gave us one of the only pieces of advice I can ever remember. He said, “If you wait until you are completely materially ready to have kids, you run the risk of never having kids. You will never be financially ready for kids. You have kids when you are ready to have kids, and you make the finances work.”
He was right. We found our little house, and it only had one bedroom. We built out the nursery – finishing it up the night before the baby shower. I’d gone back to school, and I took my last final with Cadence in a stroller beside me – answering test questions with my hands, rocking the stroller with my feet to keep her quiet. By the time Gawen was born, Jason was back in school full time, and working full time to pay the bills. We wanted to raise our kids on the West Coast, and we moved to Seattle when Cadence was three and Gawen was not-quite-one.
We could have waited. We could have finished school, worked hard, socked away money and moved to Seattle before we started our family. In a lot of ways, that would have made more sense. But would we have had the drive to make it through school while working full time? Moving to Seattle from Chicago was a massive undertaking. Would we have found the momentum to make that happen without feeling the pressure that two kids brought to the situation?
You’ll hear us make the analogy often – business is life and life is business.
We’re actually on vacation as I write this, in a quiet little cabin on Orcas Island, and it’s been a crazy couple of months getting the office built out and opened up. We are in the throes of major change – our business today looks unrecognizable from the day-to-day three months ago. We are spending this down-time resting, and doing the things you do on vacation – our favorite little bakery, and a game of golf at the sleepy little course here. But we’re also spending this time revisiting our plans for the development of our business.
This is the moment where it’s easy to lose sight of business development – of our obstacles and keys, of our compass, code, and strategy. It’s easy to say, “We’re too busy right now.” We’re still settling into the office. We are training our new hire, and working hard to develop the work that he will do. We’re working on the new website and branding, and building out a training schedule at the new training room. We’re building an entirely new accounting system. And on top of all of that, our business has grown, and we need to make sure that we’re securing enough work to support that growth. In the midst of all that, it’s easy to think that it isn’t time for business development.
But the truth is that now, more than ever, is exactly the time for business development. After all, when things get crazy, or when work gets slow, it’s vital that we have our sense of direction firmly in place. Much like having our kids gave us the purpose and direction that drove us to the place we are today, having your sense of where your business is going is how you make the decisions that help work to pick up, the processes and systems that help work feel less crazy, even when you have plenty of work on the board.
Tell a doctor that you don’t have time for exercise. A good doctor will gently correct you that you don’t make time for exercise. The same is true of business development. You don’t have time for business development. You will never have time for business development. You make time for business development. If not now, when?
Not sure how to make time? We can help.