This week’s blog is all about the P word and what it means for your business. There are a lot of important P words in business. Profit is a good one, and so is people but these are not the word I’m talking about. I’m talking about the P word which is intangible that most people shy away from evening mentioning, yet has the potential to be the most dangerous thing in your business.
There, I’ve said it.
I’m a procrastinator and I’m here to give and ask for support from other procrastinators. Together we can beat this business disease.
It sounds a bit like an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. There a number of parallels. Most procrastinators are ashamed to admit they have a procrastination problem. In polite conversation they admit to a little bit of procrastination:
“I procrastinate a little bit every now and then, but then I roll my sleeves up and get on with it”
That’s probably true about the things they have to do. The admin, the accounts etc. For me the VAT falls into that category. Every quarter I leave it to the last minute then pull a couple of really late nights to get it done and say to myself “it’s going to be different next quarter”, but it never is.
The BIG procrastination
In the build up to writing this blog I’ve been procrastinating some more. Not about the blog, although it was late getting written because I was tired overcoming another piece of procrastination. That was the year end accounts for my property businesses. They were long overdue and Companies House were getting shirty, so I’ve had to [put in some long nights and hard days to sort it out.
Why had I let it get so bad? Well there weren’t a lot of transactions so I told myself that when I got round to doing the work, it wouldn’t take long (I was at least right in that). Then starting the motorhome business got in the way. Then the separation got in the way. Then moving into my flat got in the way. Then taking over the Hub got in the way.
So this was my BIG procrastination. But as I’m writing the blog, I realise two things:
- This is just another regular little procrastination. Something that needs to get done, does get done, but is left to the last minute.
- The reason I’ve procrastinated on this is because my heart was never in the property business. It seemed like a good idea at the time and I wanted to support my wife, but my heart was never really in it.
Lesson #1 – If your heart isn’t in it you’ll procrastinate
So if that isn’t the BIG procrastination, what is?
Well, it’s the thing that will make a big difference to your business. It’s so big and so scary you’re putting it off. You’re coming up with all sorts of rationalised irrational reasons why you shouldn’t do it now.
Maybe it’s hiring your first member of staff. Maybe it’s moving into premises. Maybe it’s launching that new product range. It’s not a step outside your comfort zone, it’s a leap. Or at least, that’s how it appears.
My first BIG procrastination was launching my online LinkedIn coaching programme. I threw up all sorts of reasons why I wasn’t ready. But in the end, with the right support, I broke through those barriers and got it launched. That taught me lessons 2, 3 and 4.
Lesson #2 – It’s never as bad as your imagination makes it
Whether it’s the little procrastinations or the biggy, it never is as bad as you think. The hardest part is taking the first step.
Lesson #3 – The support of others will get you through
Being an entrepreneur can be a very lonely place. Everything in the business is your responsibility and it can be overwhelming trying to navigate your way through things. But if you mix with the right people, they can provide the support and encouragement you need to succeed.
That’s just the type of environment we seek to create at The Guildford Hub and the other Hubs around the country. An environment where you can talk about the challenges you’re facing, your business fears and demons, and get the support of the community to help you through.
Lesson #4 – Accountability is the quickest route to success
Procrastination thrives where there is no accountability. That’s why we all overcome the little procrastinations like the VAT and the accounts. Because we are held accountable by HMRC or Companies House. But when the challenge is within your own gift – shall I launch that product, shall I take on that member of staff – there is no default party to hold you accountable.
When I was running my project management consultancy I talked about writing a book on the people side of project management but I was procrastinating. I was part of a marketing programme so the group put me on the spot and said they would hold me accountable. It was just a small group so if I failed it wouldn’t be too big a deal. But the group leader spotted that and upped the stakes. I had to send an email to my list telling them when the draft would be ready and asking for volunteers to review the book. Now the accountability was much more public.
It worked. The draft was published early. I had over a dozen reviewers and the new book generated many new signs ups to my list. The power of the group got accountability on the table. The experience of the leader made the accountability much more powerful.
Are you a member of a group that can provide that sort of support and accountability? If not, why not come along and try The Guildford Hub or one of the other hubs. The Hub community can help get accountability on the table and the Hub leaders will help make it real.
GDPR – latest procrastination
One of the areas a lot of business owners are procrastinating about at the moment is GDPR – the General Data Protection Regulations. With lots of noise and contradictory advice flying around many entrepreneurs are feeling overwhelmed. Others are burying their heads in the sand. That brings me on to lesson 5.
Lesson #5 – A plan is the first step to overcome procrastination
As with all new legislation, nobody really knows what is going to happen and how things will pan out. It will take months and years before we have enough examples and case law to show the true impact of the new rules.
One thing is quite clear though. Unless you clearly break the law and upset a significant number of people, or just impact one person very badly (such as enabling identity theft), the regulator isn’t going to come knocking at your door on May 26th (the day after the legislation goes live).
The best course of action for all small businesses is to demonstrably take steps to become GDPR compliant and it’s a relatively straight forward process to do that. The Guildford Hub is here to help you overcome this procrastination
A plan for GDPR – Monday 19th March
The new General Data Protection Regulations or GDPR go live on 25th May. There has been a lot of hype and a fair degree of scare mongering about the subject. In fact, it has spawned a whole new industry pack with so-called experts.
Well, here at the Guildford hub we’ve been attending quite a few seminars and webinars so that we can bring you a pragmatic, practical approach to getting ready for GDPR.
Whether your head’s in a spin or you think you have a reasonable grasp of the requirements, this session will take you through a 5 step plan to get the core of your business and marketing GDPR-ready. There will be a bunch of useful links and the opportunity to get some off-the-shelf documents to help you on the journey.
If you’re reading this blog after the date on which this talk was run, or you can’t make the date, don’t despair. All Hub talks are livestreamed in the Business Hubs Members Closed Facebook group and are then stored in the group for you to watch again and again at your convenience. All Hub members have access to our back catalogue of talks since we started livestreaming in the middle of 2016. It’s another huge benefit of being a Hub member.
Go to www.guildfordhub.com to see what’s on and sign up. Your first visit is free.