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Summary:

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” — Confucius The bottom line for every business owner is this. If you can’t keep customers and clients, your business will fail. Ironically, we tend to forget this fact by getting caught up in the […]

step“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” — Confucius

The bottom line for every business owner is this. If you can’t keep customers and clients, your business will fail.

Ironically, we tend to forget this fact by getting caught up in the “busy-ness” of running a business. We have to-do lists that are a mile long and, for a lot of us, don’t include real steps to move us any closer to securing new business on a regular basis.

I’m always working to get my business off the ground. I say “working”, but for the sake of this post, I’ll be real and rephrase: I’m always [absorbed in busy work that I think will somehow, by some random law of physics I can't explain, result in a Big Bang of sorts] to get my business off the ground.

Fortunately for me, I occasionally come out of the trance-like state caused by busy-work long enough to gain a little traction with my business. Yesterday was one of those times.

Last month was hectic, lots of personal challenges that kept me away from the business, and when things settled down, I found myself struggling to overcome the inertia of recent weeks.

For the week and a half I’d been back at work, I kept saying:

  • “I need to catch up on my blog.”
  • “I need to find some new customers.”
  • “I need to write those articles.”

In the week and a half I’d been back, I hadn’t written a single blog post, I hadn’t found a single new customer, and I’d barely written two articles.

Yesterday started much the same, except for one seemingly minor difference. When I said to myself, “I need to catch up on my blog,” I followed it with, “Let me find someone to interview.”

I set out to find someone to interview, really someone to replace a person I was supposed to interview the day before, so this wasn’t a real stretch — yet.

In the process of finding a replacement expert, an idea hit me for a series of interviews I could do for the blog, and that was it. Within a few hours, I had ten (yes, ten!) interviews lined up for the coming week. That means, I have ten articles that are practically in the bag, ten new-to-me audiences who will now hear about my business as a result of the interviews, and ten people who are excited about collaborating with me on these articles. I’ll call that a good day’s work, in fact, better than the past week and a half combined, and all that was different was action.

Action is the thing that will help you overcome inertia; it’s the thing that will help you gain momentum in your business, so do something.

Don’t just talk about the blog entries you need to write and contemplate what topics to discuss. Take action! Find ten people to interview.

Don’t just talk about the networking you need to do. Take action! Get out today and meet ten new people. Just stop in and say, “Hello! I wanted to meet you and find out about your business.”

Do something, and then, tomorrow, do something more. Create some buzz around you and your business. Show genuine interest in someone else and be amazed at how they’ll reciprocate.

Stop talking. Stop the busy-ness. I promise you, if you’ll take real steps to move your business forward, you can actually end up working shorter days. Yesterday, I had nine of the ten interviews lined up by 3 PM (and I sent out the first email at 11 AM). You know what I did then? I took the rest of the day off.

What action can you take today to propel your business forward? How can you make real progress toward your goals? Stop talking. Start doing.

Photo from Flickr by MissTurner

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  1. They say running a business is like running a marathon, not a sprint.

    Every work day is a step. Sometimes it’s smaller, sometimes it’s bigger. But just keep moving and you will get there – things do add up in a long term.

    I just tell myself every morning “what can I accomplish today till 5pm?”. Not this week, not this month (though sure I have the big picture), but today.

    Even the task management software that we use is called 5pm (http://www.5pmweb.com) and their slogan is “Get more done by 5pm”. May be that’s where I got the idea after all…

  2. I couldn’t agree more to this post. I have been familiar with the phrase used above coming from Confucius. In fact, it has been with me since school years. Yet, I have forgotten the phrase and also the act implied in those words. This post is actually a good reminder for me. Not that I tend to procrastinate these days, rather I tend to think more about plans. Unfortunately, some of them remained as abstract ideas as I spend less time on taking them in action. Indeed, it is useful to think, but accomplishing pending tasks gives you tangible results that you need.

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  4. SO TRUE! It seems like the smallest hit to the normal schedule (personal or otherwise) and soon we’re soo busy catching up that we don’t notice if what we’re working on really matters.

  5. Sometimes discussions and talking does become a bit much.. its always important to keep in mind how much of work is actually being done and how much of time is going into talking/discussing abt it.

  6. Just something I noticed, the quote at the beginning of the article is by another philosopher Lao-tzu, not Confucius :)

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