Getting serious about business

( dw 12 April 2011 This post seems to have lost an intro, which I believe would have gone somewhat as follows:

When I was working once on a national program for education and the arts, I was lobbying the chairman of a powerful research funding body for some money for research into education and the arts. He did not say no, nor did he say yes. He said, “first you must ask a manageable question.” )

At first I thought, ok, that shouldn’t be too hard. In practice, I found then and subsequently that it’s quite a challenge to ask worthwhile questions which are also “manageable”, which I interpreted to mean being able to be translated into a plan of action with some reasonable prospect of successful, or at least useful, outcomes.

Further down the track and a few years after I moved into the field of home based business, I was in conversation with a colleague from the USA, who asked a question which at the time I considered somewhat frivolous, mainly because of the way it was phrased, but a question which has resonated with me down the seven or eight years since it was put to me. The question was? Simple: “Are you running a business, or running around?”

It’s so easy to be very busy about our business and still to miss out on achieving the success we desire for the business and for ourselves.

And because we work for ourselves, it’s not so difficult to make excuses for ourselves. Well, I worked so hard, I made lots of calls, I did a lot of networking, etc etc. And even if we give ourselves a hard time about that, the very fact of being in a home based business, working for oursleves, means that we miss out on the more objective scrutiny of our work by others – supervisors, colleagues – that might in another life (corporate, government) have given us a better reflection of external reality and kept us more down to earth.
I like the idea of writing some more about this in this blog. I’m much more focused on outcomes these days and much less given to “running around”, but there’s still plenty to do in terms of “running a business”

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About Des Walsh

I show business owners and other professionals how to navigate the social media maze and use LinkedIn effectively. I'm an author, speaker, business coach, social media strategist and LinkedIn specialist. Connect with me on LinkedIn, Google Plus and Twitter. And to stay in the loop, get my weekly Social Business Bites.


  1. Anonymous says:

    Hi Des,

    I didn’t have a chance yesterday to come by (though I did thank you in a post). I wanted to see what you’re blog was like and thank you in person for telling me about the hosed link on my blog.

    I like what you’re doing here and I think you’ve got a great point in this article. I’ve suspected for a long time that the numbers about failure (95%) are deceptive. An aweful lot of these “businesses” fall into the “running around” category. Lots of to and fro, no testing, no application of fundementals. The echo I hear is “If you’re not testing, then it’s just a hobby”. I’m fairly focused (OK, at least a good part of the time), and I still get snowed under with the sheer volume of easily available information. Getting back on track and taking care of business can be extraordinarily difficult and I sometimes think that it may be because we miss that objective scrutiny you spoke of and are looking for it almost randomly without realizing what we’re doing – in forums, in making connections via blogs, whatever, but in an unfocused way.

    We are social critters and the internet can be a lonely place to work. To stay focused, to stop running around, I think we really need to have connections with others who are doing similar work. We need that community you spoke of in another post and we need to spend the time to develop and maintain the connections and build the community. I sometimes get the impression that too many successful marketers are too intent on the next buck to actually experience a sense of community any more (or maybe their community is limited to JV partners). Sounds like sour grapes, I suppose. Still, this whole thing is really about people, and the truth, at least as I see it, is that you’re never going to hurt yourself by helping someone else.

    And, to go off the track a little, keeping an eye on nanotech is a real good idea. That technology will change everything – for everyone – if it escapes the grasp of the already rich and powerful. Nanotech has the potential to set us all free. It’s going to happen eventually.

    I’ll be back to read some more of your posts. And thanks again.