In almost every culture around the globe there are sayings and stories that suggest that we should go slowly if we want to reach our goals. This applies to all areas of our lives from friendships, to raising children and naturally also to the topic that interests us the most – entrepreneurship.
Wisely, and slow. They stumble that run fast. – William Shakespeare
I find it amusing that we are urged to take it slow when we live in a world where speed is crucial in order to succeed. What do you think about that?
A lot of people are out there to make a “quick buck” but they don’t understand that its not sustainable. Of course you can find deals that you can close quickly but you won’t find enough to make a living or to build a business model around it.
I’m a slow walker, but I never walk back. – Abraham Lincoln
The question you have to ask yourself is: how much has the world really changed? What is the new slow and what is the new fast? There are things that will never change – for example a (human) pregnancy takes nine months. A good roast in the oven will take the time it takes and it will not be rushed. So what can we rush, if anything?
Perfection is attained by slow degrees; it requires the hand of time. – Voltaire
In my opinion, there are several areas of business that you mustn’t rush. For example you can’t rush good planning and thorough analysis because you need to know what you are getting yourself into. You cannot rush development of your product or service because if you end up pushing out something that’s premature then it will hurt you for a long time because consumers tend to remember the negative and quickly forget the positive.
The things you can and must speed up in today’s world is communication. You have to be responsive because our society has become accustomed to swift replies thanks to emails and text messages. You can win and lose deals with your response time. I make it a point in my life to respond in accordance with the importance I allocate to any given subject. For example, if I have an immediate interest in something I will respond within minutes; I will also act on information within minutes if I see a potential benefit. If I’m less interested or don’t see the value in a quick response, I will reply in due course which is usually within 24 hours. If you assume that people think in a similar manner then you can measure their interest by their response time.
Opportunity comes knocking now more than ever because big corporations are not nimble like small ventures. There is a balance because big corporations have big resources but the savvy never had a greater chance to succeed than today!
You want your counterpart to know that you are a reliable constant. By that I mean that you should accustom your clients to your ability to deliver and show results at a pace that you can sustain. If you rush things you will make mistakes. You will overlook details and depending on the details it can be critical. Every mistake you make will create a crack (big or small) in the trust that your clients place in you. It takes time to create this trust and depending on the exigence of that particular client, you may lose their trust with one mistake and that takes food off your table.
The world is changing very fast. Big will not beat small anymore. It will be the fast beating the slow. – Rupert Murdoch
On the other end of the scale, you must be mindful that clients will inevitably lose interest in you when you don’t act at an acceptable pace. We are now living in a fast-moving world and money (much like time) waits for nobody. There will always be someone around the corner who is just waiting for you to slip up so that he / she can scoop up your client and make money in your stead. You have surely been in that position in some area of your life before where you were waiting, and ready to strike like a predator when the opportunity presented itself. In business its no different as its a “dog eat dog” world.
Stay away from toxic expectations because they will cause you more harm than any profit you may reap from your work. I think it is important to frequently step outside of your comfort zone to accomplish things that others can’t but it is equally important to pace yourself because if you burn out you will be of no use to anyone. I often hear people say “I want to become a millionaire” and my response is that you have to start making 100 Dollars before you will make a million. Just take it one step at a time and cast a big enough net so that you may catch that fish you are wishing for.
Success has a lot to do with timing as well because the best idea at the wrong time will not succeed. So besides the actual time you spend doing something you should also be mindful of when you do something. For example! A sales call on a Friday afternoon has a higher risk of falling on deaf ears than on a Tuesday morning. You’re better off going to the gym or picking your kids up from school than wasting your time on futile attempts to sell something. The same applies for Monday mornings! There are other things you can do to be productive. It is these little details that can make a big difference in your professional life.
If you are reading my blog then you know I’m a great friend of efficiency. I hate wasting my time and so should you! Be quick when you have to and take your time when the task calls for it but don’t make the mistake to brush something aside and plan to revisit it at some later point in time – then you are either not properly interested or properly motivated and neither is a good sign. I know its a constant struggle with your inner voice that wants you to sit on the couch, maybe take a nap or play video games but trust me, you wont accomplish anything that way.
On a side note: An animal that I like very much (I don’t really know why) is the turtle. I often wonder if there is a correlation between the fact that they move slowly and steadily but can live for over hundred years while most quick and hasty animals only live for a few years. There might be a lesson from nature in there somewhere – don’t you think?