There are two kinds of business owners. There are the people that are driving their train, the business they created, forward. They plan ahead. They work their butts off. They maximize their time by putting it on paper and following a schedule, because time to them, is a limited resource that must be used wisely.
And then you have the other group.
To them, their business is a ride. They already paid their dues to get in. "If I build it, they will come", they say, and sitting there on that ride, they hold on hoping their business will take off. These people believe that the business itself, through a sheer will of its own, will bring them somewhere new. Instead of forging new paths forward, they get their lawn-chairs out and wait for trails to appear in front of them.
I think that's why 50% of new businesses fail (Did you know that the phrase "Nine out of ten new businesses fail" is a much-repeated saying that has no factual basis? The SBA says that 50% of new businesses last 4-5 years. About thirty percent of startups last for 10 years or more. The more you know!). Because rides are fun and exciting! To most people, owning a business means not working a 40-hour work week, not having a boss to answer to, and something akin to Scrooge McDuck diving into a mountain of wealth all day. The American dream, some would say! But why? Why do business owners treat their own businesses like amusement rides? And why does this "ride mentality" bring mediocrity and cookie-cutter-like ideas to the rest of the world?
Because a ride is easy. A ride is something one hops on, buckles into, and waits for. Rides take their riders down its own predetermined path, designed to elicit wonder and excitement from all it carries, determined to leave its payers craving more. The ride isn't driven by its riders, nor are they responsible if the "ride totally sucks." It's short-term entertainment.
And let's be honest. If you got this far, you're wondering which direction this blog post is going to go in. Will I be the humble business owner who cleverly disguises his weaknesses as strengths (hello typical interviewees!)? Will I confidently say "Nah man, I knew what this was going to take and manned up," and hope to teach you a lesson about being a super-driven-awesome leader? Maybe, instead, you're offended that I switched from 3rd person, to 1st, to 2nd, and so on, and think that all of this is a pathetic SEO grab?*
Here's what I've come with: I'm still the guy with the lawn chair. I know my business is not a ride (I used to believe after I moved here that BaseTactics would take care of itself), but I still wait for "that magic bullet" to make it all easy. I know (deep down) it's time for me to strive to be part of that first group, and I promise you, there are some days I'm right there with them. That's when I'm thinking of new ideas, making better connections, and driving BaseTactics forward. But other times, I sit. And wait. Because lemme tell you, my chair is oh-so-comfortable, and uh, good things happen to those who wait! This thing even has drink holders!
Today was the first day that I (ever) mapped out my time from when I woke up until now. Breakfast at 8:00 am. BaseTactics at 9:00 am - 2:00 pm, and so on. From there, I made a list of everything I wanted to accomplish during those times. Did I fail? In some ways, very much so. Did I get more accomplished than if I had just blindly reacted to the day? Well (and this is small, I know), "posting something on the website" is on that list. It's something I kept saying I would do for months. And I'm doing it. Why? Because I made a written commitment to myself, and now it's 9:20 PM at night.**
I'm ditching the lawn chair.
(Or I'm transforming it into a rocket-powered-tank-chair of destruction. Either or.)
*I thought about writing BaseTactics 100 times after I wrote this out of spite. Also, I felt guilty every time I wrote "BaseTactics" after I said this. SEE??!
**Also because I made a successful FTL run (computer game) last night and have no desire to play it tonight.