Time is Not Variable

Posted by JasonBlumer on Oct 13, 2017 in

My partner texted this to me the other day:"Time is not variable. It's static. How we use it (intentionally or not) is the variable."So true. We've been talking a lot about time lately. And this awesome TED talk further discusses the phenomenon of time management. It turns out that time management is not really a thing. Can you really manage time? It's just a static thing that keeps ticking forward for all of us. This TED talk says choosing your priorities is the thing to work on. The speaker, Laura Vanderkam, gives an example of 'creating time' out of nowhere. If your basement floods, suddenly you have found 7 additional hours in the week to clean up the mess. Where did that time come from?The time was always there. You just made some different choices about your priorities. This basement flood became a priority, thus it got some…

Who is your Guru?

Posted by JasonBlumer on Oct 5, 2017 in

Tony Robbins has a documentary called "I'm not your guru." I guess that begs the question - do people think he is their guru? Oh yeah. And the documentary proves it from start to finish. He is a guru.Who are you following? Who are you looking to to help you run your business or give you the final word on how to take the next step? Gurus don't have the answer. There are principles to live by, but entrepreneurship requires a lot of strategy and creativity. A guru cannot speak to each and every moment you encounter in business. Entrepreneurship is a creative process that requires trying new things that may or may not work. That also means you aren't 'doing it wrong' (which is what I hear a lot of business owners say). You aren't doing business wrong; you are only trying the next thing. Trying the next…

Sharing Your Vision With Your Team

Posted by JasonBlumer on Sep 7, 2017 in

I interviewed a guest on the Businessology Show podcast recently and he talked about how he shared the vision and core values of his company with his team. He shared the company values because he had been assuming in the past that the team knew the core values. After all, the values were posted on the wall for everyone to see.He discovered that his team was interpreting the values of the company differently than he intended them. He created cards with the values on them and passed them out to the team. Then he went through them in a team meeting to see if the team knew what they meant. They didn't know the values, or were interpreting them in ways he didn't expect. Each individual team member runs the values of a company through their own nuanced filter of their life, expectations, and past. Like any key message…

There is No Right Way to Buy or Sell A Business

Posted by JasonBlumer on Aug 31, 2017 in

From time to time, our clients will have opportunities to buy or sell a business. They may be expanding or wanting to merge into another larger company. Our clients will ask "how do you do it?" It seems our clients believe there is a right way to buy or sell their business, when in reality, there is no 'how.' Knowing how to buy or sell a business is so open ended that the answer to the above questions is always "it depends."It depends on so many factors between the buyer and the seller. You can create a purchase or sale to look any way the two parties want it to look. I believe it's such a hard thing to understand because it is so open and creative. Buying or selling a business is truly a practice in negotiation when two unrelated parties (the IRS places restrictions around RElated…

Turning a Train Around

Posted by JasonBlumer on Aug 24, 2017 in

I'm no railroad engineer, but I imagine turning a train around to go in the opposite direction takes a lot of work and time. On the other hand, hooking up a cart to the end of a train going in the same direction seems like a simple process.This could be a loose analogy to building your business. When partners and teams are moving in the same direction (my partner and I call it "being on the same page") it's easy to add new things like processes, software, clients, team members, etc. Just hook these things onto the end of the moving train and keep going. But if the people in an organization are traveling in opposite directions, turning those thoughts, patterns, and ideas around is really hard to do. And when you do need to turn around a train that is headed in a different direction, it takes much…

Creative Work Requires Scoping

Posted by JasonBlumer on Aug 17, 2017 in

Our firm works with a lot of creative clients, and there is one common element to these businesses that can make running a creative company difficult: subjectivity. The results of creative work and the happiness of clients is all a subjective measure. This makes the work, and the delivery of that work, difficult to assess as to whether it is being done correctly, is moving forward in a timely manner, or is even successful. Who defines the creative work in a world of subjectivity?The client? NO!It is the role of the company (the expert) to define what creative work will look like, what the process will look like, and what success will ultimately look like. This is the burden a creative must take on. Scoping work in a Statement of Work (SOW) is one key way to define this subjectivity. It's not good if a creative company has…

Small Things Are Scary Under a Microscope

Posted by JasonBlumer on Aug 10, 2017 in

Do you remember in science class when you looked at things under a microscope? Those things looked weird and much larger than life.Issues and problems can seem like that in the world of running a business. You can bump into an issue and it seems that it is incredibly big. When you are hyper focused on these issues or problems in the context of the details, then you are looking at your issue under a microscope. And it looms large.But stepping back to look at a larger picture, a long-term strategy, or a well crafted plan for you business can bring these issues into perspective. Stepping away from the intense details that created the issue or problem can take away the fear of the situation. Maybe that problem was really a necessary step in the longer term strategy? It often is.At times we have to step away…

The Role of Your Tools

Posted by JasonBlumer on Aug 3, 2017 in

When I say 'tools' I'm mostly talking about the plethora of technology apps necessary to run your company. The larger your company gets, and the larger your team grows, the more technology you are going to need. But a tool is just a tool. The tool doesn't necessarily do anything special. A hammer is only as good as the experience of the carpenter using it.Keep this in mind when you are investing in tools to help you sell better, draft money better, or keep track of your work. The tools are only as good as the company implementing those tools. Each tool comes with a certain level of strategy as to how to use it and the required team training to make everyone an experienced carpenter.Tools are just assistants to make your work more efficient, ultimately creating better service for your clients. Keep the role of your tools…

The Future Value of Building Processes

Posted by JasonBlumer on Jul 27, 2017 in

We read books about processes and how awesome they are. But sitting down to create them, roll them out, and teach them to a team is a lot of work. My partner and I are committing to this right now. Doing all of this work takes everyone away from their real work.Maybe building and implementing processes IS the real work? I believe it is.It's a good reminder that there is mostly future value in building company processes. The payoff in building processes always comes later. Never at the time of implementation. So building processes is a current temporary commitment for a future value. And we can say from experience that the future value is mind blowing.This means that if you say 'no' to building processes in the 'now' you are agreeing to say 'no' to the future value of those processes down the road. You can't reap…

Love the Problem, Not Your Solution

Posted by JasonBlumer on Jul 20, 2017 in

One of my favorite startup bloggers is Ash Maurya, author of Running Lean. Though he writes about tech startups, a lot of his principles apply to the consultative world of service firms that I live and breath in.And one of my favorite blogs is "Love the Problem, Not Your Solution." As he states in his post, we fall in love with our solutions before we even know what our clients want us to solve. We have to become lovers of the problem first. Our 'big ideas' are normally the solutions that pop into our minds. But this is not the path to market dominance. The only thing that matters are solutions that solve problems. Maurya built a Lean Canvas to help entrepreneurs get to a problem faster. What is the problem? Answering this question is what you must love if you are to build a company and business model…