Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey – Workplace Culture Experts & Barefoot Wine Founders

By Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey – Workplace Culture Experts & Barefoot Wine Founders

Casting About vs. Fishing Where There’s Fish

Casting About vs. Fishing Where There’s Fish 150 150 MIchael and Bonnie Harvey

One of the toughest obstacles that entrepreneurs face is much more difficult than coming up with a good idea—it’s choosing which good idea to focus on. You want to avoid putting all your eggs in one basket, and you also don’t want to be so frazzled that you aren’t able to devote the right amount of energy to the one idea that will bring you the most success.

This hurdle is especially confounding as we approach the new fiscal year. We are determined to make changes. We want to stop beating a dead horse. And we want to find and identify alternatives. Many books have been written about how entrepreneurs get distracted by “shiny objects” right as they’re on the edge of success. If only they’d been a little more focused… But no. They were completely distracted.

Somewhere between beating a dead horse and shiny objects lies the answer. Is the horse actually dead? Is there something within those shiny objects that can save him?

Many entrepreneurs are just finishing the fiscal year, dedicated to their main project, while entertaining new possibilities at the same time. As we begin the new fiscal year, we should take a page out of the ancient Japanese craftsman’s book. At the end of each year, they thoroughly clean their shop. This shows respect for their workspace and gives them a chance to mentally and physically sort things through.

Take Inventory

Looking at inventory allows you to learn what sold and what didn’t. This task alone seems obvious, but many entrepreneurs keep on moving without taking a minute to actually understand what worked! Anything left in the inventory are slow movers and un-sold products. These are now taking up precious physical and mental space. It’s a good time to think about how much energy you’ve exerted into your slow-moving products. In the new fiscal year, you’ll need that space—mentally and physically!

Clean Up

Look at everything. Decide whether you want to hold on to each thing, change it, or just get rid of it. When you think about each initiative you’ve sought after this past year, the ones that fell through don’t have to be considered a total loss. What lessons have you learned from each experience? And how can they help you as you pursue your main priority?

One important approach is to reorganize. Think about your nonproducing, “failed” initiatives, and incorporate them into the initiatives that proved successful for you. Have you acquired new contacts, referrals, or skills that will benefit you in the coming year? Organize these. Make a list to acknowledge them. Then you’ll know you’ve gotten the most out of those “shiny objects”.


Focus on your true customer this coming year by using the experiences of last year. These customers might be different than those you’ve pursued previously. Like a fisherman casting his line looking for a bite, it’s time to pull in your line, check your bait, and move your boat toward the action.

There’s a market for what you’ve sold this past year. Move closer by addressing that market more efficiently. How did last year’s customers learn about your goods or services? How can you make those channels better? Learn to recognize each opportunity to utilize any new skills you’ve learned over this past year.

When it comes to your main pursuit, has the market changed? How can you tweak your presentation and products to be more compelling and relevant than ever? Chat with your customers.

We understand that fiscal years are just simple measures of passing time. But a year also represents a period of work that you can learn from, once you take the time to analyze inventory, clean up, and refocus. So while everyone else is feeling motivated to surge in new directions, maybe you can imitate those Japanese craftsmen, using analysis, reflection, and redirection.

Here’s to your new fiscal year, one made even better by the last!

For more, read on: http://c-suitenetworkadvisors.com/advisor/michael-houlihan-and-bonnie-harvey/