You’re a small business owner – maybe a solopreneur. You make decisions as you experience changes in your personal and professional world. Timing of events will be especially important because they affect you personally. What happens outside the business will affect what happens inside the business.
Here are 3 examples of situations you may encounter, based on my experiences with clients (and my experience). I tend to be somewhat biased, but I listed the pros and cons for each decision.
You’re about to make a major geographic move.
While you’re packing up, you hear about a business coaching program that sounds just right for you. You admire the coach who’s running the program. The price is right. Should you join?
Pros: You’ll keep some momentum going. Being in a new environment can feel unsettled. You’ll have some continuity as well as something to look forward to.
Cons: When you’re moving you’re often in a state of stress. It’s best not to make decisions at this time.
After you move, you find you’re locked into a part of your life that no longer seems meaningful. You might find new opportunities that you can’t take advantage of, because you’re already committed.
Most importantly. being in a new place will change your mindset. You may be more or less interested in the same things…and you may be ready for something completely new.
BTW, clients who start working with me sometimes announce – after they’ve already hired and paid me – they’re going on vacation. The effect is similar to a move. Their mindset shifts. They lose momentum. They begin noticing new opportunities.
I almost always advise starting a new project the day you embark on a vacation, especially if you’re traveling overseas for 2 weeks or more. I’ve rarely seen these projects end successfully.
You’re about to remodel your website.
You’ve started working with a copywriter and you’re reviewing WordPress themes. You get approached by a large company to take a full-time contractual position for a year, possibly extended to two.
Taking the job will give you credentials, skills, and a platform to grow your business at a future date.
Should you continue to create the website now?
PROS: Your business idea is fresh in your mind. It won’t take too much work to get a website up. If something goes wrong with your job, or the offer falls through, you’ll continue easily. You have momentum going to build your website and your may not have time later, once you’re in the job. If you hire a copywriter and designer later, they’ll be revising, not starting from scratch.
CONS: If you take this job and stay even one year, your website will be out of date. You’ll probably get some new strengths that will change the direction of your business. You could be exposed to a new audience – perhaps a more lucrative opportunity. Your current expenses represent a sunk cost. No need to spend more! Keep your notes and move on.
You’re thinking of starting a big project…but you’re not sure when.
You decide to reach out to some copywriters and designers to “see what’s out there.”
Should you do this now, before you’ve got a timeline?
PROS: You’ll get a sense of what people charge to help you. Sometimes you’ll find a friendly person who will suggest resources that can help you move ahead. You’ll be taking action – at least some action – which tends to generate momentum.
CONS: You’ll get a very general idea of what’s out there, but what you learn won’t be useful later. For instance, my rates and availability may be quite different six months from now, let alone a year from now. If I’m one of the people you call, you’ll be wasting time.
Additionally, people who have time to chat while you’re “looking around” may not be the be best choices for suppliers when the time comes. Busy people won’t spend time unless they’re selling or working with you after you become a client.
Frankly, this is one situation where the “cons” overwhelm the “pros.” When clients ask for a phone call, I want to know if they’ve got a budget and a time frame. If the answer is “no” to both, I suggest booking a consultation to plan their next step.
When you don’t have a plan, and don’t seek help in making a plan, your goal will be achieved in the distant future…if it’s achieved at all.