As I was driving down the highway, back from dropping my kid off at school, I began to think about the way we handle traffic. I identified three types of traffic lane handlers. The Leopards – Those who jumped from lane to lane depending on which lane was moving faster always looking for an opportunity to jump ahead and correctly identifying the faster moving lane. The Turtles – Those that seem to have no clue and almost always jump lanes after much hesitation and deliberation only to get into a lane that actually comes to a standstill as soon as they join it. The Sloths – And finally those who stayed in their lane even if they see scores of cars pass them in the next lane content that they would eventually get to the destination and slowly edge on.
I thought this translated well to business owners and that if you can identify to which of these groups you belong, perhaps you can be more aware of how you are reacting to business situations and how you are making decisions. Exploring your business from this point of view may enable you to make small changes to how you are doing things that would end up giving you big rewards down the line.
To take the above analogy to business, I see entrepreneurs and small business owners, including those in the logo design industry, who are very proactive and are always on the look out for new opportunities. They could almost be classified as hustlers (in the true sense of the word and not the negative connotation). They keep their ear to the ground and when they see an opportunity, have the ability to know if it is the right one and the conviction to make a decision. They usually react well to changes in the business landscape and almost always end up making winning decisions.
This group includes business owners who are open to opportunities but do not have the ability to identify the right opportunities at the right time and are plagued by doubt and confusion. When they do make a decision, it happens at the wrong time – either the opportunity is not viable anymore or even worse, is toxic. With a little help and guidance, the Turtles can learn to change their thinking and gradually make the right kind of choices.
This group includes business owners and entrepreneurs who do not seek out opportunities and in fact actively ignore changes to their market or the world in general and are content with doing what they have been doing. They believe in the adage “If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it”. They are happy with how their business is going and do not want to jeopardise their cosy situation. This group would have a good time when the market is good but when things change and their target market is evolving, they do not keep up and will eventually suffer. Companies in this category usually spend a ton of time on fire-fighting and striving for new business instead of focusing on building a brand that keeps up with the times.
Please note that the choice of animal names is purely for entertainment purposes and not to insult any one. In fact I myself have graduated from being a Sloth to a Turtle and now switch between being a Turtle and a Leopard.
Which group do you think you fit into? Have you ever taken a step back and analyzed how you are making decisions and what kind of reactive mode you are in? Have you though about how to take your business to the next level by being proactive rather than reactive and actively seeking opportunities and partnerships?
Drop me a line below with your experiences or other insight on this topic.