I was at the mall recently with my son, Lucas, taking a play break in the safari-themed toddler play area, when he did something that immediately got me thinking about the importance of thinking for yourself — especially as an entrepreneur.
We frequent this play area quite often, as it is conveniently located in the centre of the mall and features large, soft, plastic African animals as well as games to explore and always plenty of other children to interact with. There is also a television playing movies within the enclosed space.
On this particular day, Lucas and I arrived to find a group of children sitting in front of the TV — a prospect which did not appeal to Lucas. Screens aren’t really his thing. He did sit down to watch, but after about 30 seconds, he had had enough. He got up, climbed up on the bench where the other children were sitting and jumped off.
As if they had never considered the possibility of climbing and jumping, the other kids were soon jumping alongside my son. They seemed to think this was the best game anyone had ever thought up! When they grew tired of the bench, they tried out other structures, and eventually moved on to the games. Before long, all the children in the play area had abandoned the TV and someone turned it off.
This might seem like the furthest situation from your day-to-day work life, but in fact there is an important lesson here for all of us!
We all get stuck in a rut at times — when you find the routine that works for you and for your business, it’s common to stop giving it any further thought and go with what works. But while this can indeed make life easier, it can also lead to mediocrity and stagnation. You aren’t even aware of the possibilities you’re missing out on.
But just one person can shake things up. Whether that person is you, or an enthusiastic new team member, it’s worth taking a close look at your business from time to time, and assessing how you do things. You may find that a minor change to an existing process ends up making a big difference in efficiency or results… or you may even decide to shift the company in a whole new direction!
I learned early on in my entrepreneurial journey the importance of thinking outside the box, when I began outsourcing work much earlier than is common for my field. I had starting out doing everything myself, but when I got pregnant, I made the choice to hire contractors rather than slow my growth.
My unconventional choice allowed me to not only maintain my capacity throughout pregnancy and post-partum, but also to open up my business to the opportunity of much more growth than would have been possible otherwise. In the end, what began as one small shift in perspective has made a huge difference to the trajectory of my business, and also enabled my team members to start and grow businesses of their own. Best of all, I have been able to offer a wider range of services and resources to my clients, providing a better experience overall.
Here is my challenge for you: this month, change just one thing in your business and see what effect it can have. A small change might have a big result — and set bigger changes into motion!