Creating Your Business “What Not To Do” List

Posted by John Park on Jan 11th, 2009
2009
Jan 11

merry go round

 
There are many of you reading my little business blog—some now from the Chicago Tribune.  They’ve started picking up on some of my posts via a blog syndication network.  Welcome all new readers.
 
I have a confession to make.  I really struggled with this post.  This is my first post of 2009 and I wanted to share something that would help all of us reflect as business owners.  As you grit your teeth, lean forward and go about the business of running a business, please keep the following in mind.
 
Normally, I am always writing about what specific thing you can do or implement to improve your business.  Today, I plan on doing the opposite.
 
As the new business year gets under way, I want you to create a “What Not To Do” list.  Whether we abide by them or not, as business owners, we are constantly creating “To Do” lists to run our daily operations.  And as you cross-off each task with exuberance and maybe a sense of short-lived accomplishment, the days will pass, the months fly by and the next thing you know…2010 is just around the corner.
 
How can we expect different results by doing the same things over and over again?  There are many variations of this phrase and chances are you’ve heard this before.  As irrational as this statement is, it lives and thrives in many businesses.
 
Ask yourself “What will I do different this year?”  What are some items that should make your “What Not To Do List”?
 
By not doing certain things or by not incorporating certain things in to your daily business operations, you can actually improve your business and hopefully your lifestyle as well.  Here are some examples.
 
1)  I will NOT work with belligerent customers and partners this year.
2)  I will NOT answer emails or phone calls during off-hours.
3)  I will NOT discipline or chastise an employee in public.
4)  I will NOT perform administrative duties which can be delegated.
5)  I will NOT ignore the phrase…Opportunity Cost.
6)  I will NOT ignore the phrase…Doing an unimportant thing well does not make it important. ( From The 4-Hour Work Week )
7)  I will NOT save a penny and lose a dollar.
8)  I will NOT neglect my family responsibilities for business.
9)  I will NOT forget why I started this business.
10) I will NOT live a deferred life.  Carpe Diem!
 
As all of your know, I am a die-hard capitalist.  Don’t worry.  I haven’t gone off the deep-end.  As my posts resume this year, my regular formula-based business strategies will return.  Having said that, there is nothing wrong with a little reflection.  Because of my unique job as a business consultant, I have a frontrow seat to observe the bahaviors and lives of many business owners.  And as a result, I want to invite all of my owner-readers to take a deep breath and consider the above.  As the saying goes…”Life is just too short.”
 
I leave you with the following short poem written by child psychologist, David L. Weatherford.
 
 
SLOW DANCE
 
Have you ever watched kids
On a merry-go-round?
 
Or listened to the rain
Slapping on the ground?
 
Ever followed a butterfly’s erratic flight?
Or gazed at the sun into the fading night?
 
You better slow down.
Don’t dance so fast.
 
Time is short.
The music won’t last.
 
Do you run through each day
On the fly?
 
When you ask: How are you?
Do you hear the reply?
 
When the day is done,
do you lie in your bed
 
With the next hundred chores
Running through your head?
 
You better slow down.
Don’t dance so fast.
 
Time is short.
The music won’t last.
 
Ever told your child,
We’ll do it tomorrow?
 
And in your haste,
Not see his sorrow?
 
Ever lost touch,
Let a good friendship die
 
Cause you never had time
To call and say, “Hi”?
 
You better slow down.
Don’t dance too fast.
 
When you run so fast to get somewhere
You miss half the fun of getting there.
 
When you worry and hurry through your day,
It is like an unopened gift thrown away.
 
Life is not a race.
Do take it slower.
 
Hear the music.
Before the song is over.
 
 
~ David L. Weatherford
 
 
 

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