Website Design, Strategy, Social Networking, SEO, Susan Pomeroy, Ph.D.

Is Your Business the Starship Enterprise, or the HMS Bounty?

by Susan Pomeroy

Reinventing business

Every day in business, most of us boldly go where we haven’t been before. These days, business is about reinvention, whether of our companies or ourselves. Reinvention compels us to learn new skills—marketing, sales, giving talks and presentations, writing articles, hiring, or managing a team. Some of these new skills feel natural and even fun. Others, however, make us feel like jumping off a cliff.

Years ago I co-owned a frame and poster shop. We were in a great location, and did well. The shop was small enough that one person plus one employee could run it, so each of us partners was able to take turns doing what mattered most to us: take time off for travel.

We weren’t building any empire, that’s for sure. In fact we turned down opportunities to expand or open more stores. We didn’t want to become a franchise, a cookie-cutter operation, or something too big to handle. We wanted to remain a small, hands-on business that supported two people in the lives we each wanted at the time.

I’ve thought since about this decision of ours, which we took almost without thought. It was a reflex, a reaction, not only against people who were in business “just” to make money, but against corporate culture and anonymity and the greedy pursuit of wealth.

And, to be honest, it was also out of fear. Fear of turning into something or someone that we didn’t recognize. And, of taking bigger risks, and the larger potential for loss that this brings. Of putting ourselves on the line.

As it turns out, the entire poster business died several years later. We would have done great, had we expanded, for awhile… and then we would have had to completely reinvent the business in order to survive. I don’t know how we would have faced that challenge.

What I really want to say is, business is about reinvention. It’s about going—well, not usually where no one has gone before—but where YOU haven’t gone before. Of having to learn new skills, to foresee beyond comfortable limits.

So many things about doing business scare me sometimes. Selling, networking, trying new techniques, learning new skills. And when I ‘m tired, stressed or uncomfortable, how quickly I flee into the refuge of the familiar. Yes, I’m getting things done, ticking items off my to-do list. They’re just not the big-ticket items, the ones that involve any kind of risk, the ones that will bring bigger payoffs. Reinvention? Sometimes just making it to next week seems like enough. And yet it isn’t. The business that cannot reinvent itself in a changing world has no future.

Sometimes, it’s all just a bit too much. I quit being the Starship Enterprise, bolding going etc. etc., and become the HMS Bounty, hijacked by a band of rogue sailors who just want to hang out in Tahiti.

Which one are you, today?

Thanks Steve Jobs Macintosh

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