Sunday, December 7, 2014

1 Potential Benefit of Big Business over Small Business (Besides Money)

I’m learning something really important about successful businesses.  OK, maybe I’d be more accurate to share that I’m RE-learning something really important.

There is, at least, one reason that 1-person businesses have less potential than larger businesses.  (In this context, even a 2-person business might be a “bigger” business.)  Yes, it helps when a company has money, but that’s not what I’m learning…or re-learning.

See Also: Is your success really in the toilet?  (That might be good!)

When you are in business for yourself by yourself, you get to call all of the shots and keep all of the money.

However, I see one major limitation, and it’s a big one…and it’s not money.

It has to do with taking advantage of something history most closely associates with Henry Ford of the Ford Motor Company: division of labor.

Division of Labor: The Biggest Difference

I notice that when I try to do everything myself, I MIGHT get it done.  In fact, maybe I’ll EVENTUALLY get it done.  Sometimes, I feel really motivated and get everything done.

However, that’s just it.  That’s the limitation.

Us humans are not built to be “really motivated” and work at that level “all of the time.”  Even the most “motivated people” have areas they are NOT motivated.

It’s really important to find areas that are most likely to draw laziness from us.  This is true, even for the most motivated person.

I know this, because I’ve been fortunate to spend time with a lot of truly motivated people.  Even they have moments that—in the moment—make me think to myself, “Man, is this person LAZY!”

Then I remember my own actions…or more to the point INACTIONS.

A Big Misunderstanding about “Knowing”

When I was young and just fresh into the workforce, often I kept thinking to myself that all I needed was someone to take me under their wing and show me the ropes.

I thought that I would become successful if only I knew “how to.”

If I knew how to do what it takes to become successful, I knew I was motivated enough to do it.  Truthfully, this wasn’t too far from the truth.  Working hard is not usually the biggest barrier to my success.

At least, I thought not!

Years later, I’ve been lucky enough to run into people who have, more or less, “taken me under their wing.”  They gave me really good ideas.

…and I took advantage of each and every one of them and suddenly became successful…NOT!

What really happened is that I found that I was REALLY motivated about doing everything SOME of the time.  Sometimes, I would follow EVERYTHING and get really good results, but this didn’t happen ALL of the time.

I kept thinking to myself that, “Wow!  I really blew THIS opportunity.   How could I do that?”

An Important Realization: When am I motivated?

After falling into this cycle enough times, I started taking inventory of my history, asking myself key questions:

When am I “being lazy?”  vs. When am I motivated?
In my case, I realized I tended to be lazy when I did not really know how to do something, but that did not explain everything, because there are things I know how to do really well…and still don’t do them.

Eventually, I realized I am motivated—ALMOST ALL OF THE TIME—when I need to do the following activities:

Gathering Data: I hate gathering data, but it’s usually easier for me to gather data then it is for most other people.  However, I REALLY love being able to analyze that data.  Often, I notice patterns while I’m gather that data.  Essentially, I find that I learn things many others don’t, because I take time to gather and organize data that most are not.  It’s boring…until it leads to conclusions that are not.

Getting Things Done via Calling/Walking/Driving: Even though I do a lot of computer work, I can’t stand staying at home.  I never have.  I love going out and “getting things done” or simply exploring.  I’m amazed how many people could get something if they simply would just “go get it.”  I’m one of those guys that finds it easier to “get something” than suffer to do without it…especially getting it is as simple as making a quick call, walking down the hall, or driving somewhere to get it.

Reviews: For the most part, I like making people look really good.  That’s just my nature, but (most of the time) I’m not willing to lie to put a feather in someone’s cap.  I love learning and discovering new things, and many times, I find that I have insight that others do; however, usually I’m not afraid to explain it. I get irritated when someone tells me that something is “good” or “bad” but fails to substantiate his or her claim.  Yes, I realize it’s an opinion, but I’m curious of the intelligence that helped form that opinion.  Plus, I might learn something.  When I’m the one making the review, I know that (for most things) my ability to look at things objectively is way above average.  So I know that many people will benefit from my reviews, and if you’re really good, I want people to know about you, anyway.

Teach: I can’t stand for people to struggle more than they need.  I can’t stand feeling stupid, but so many times I struggled to learn something…only to find—after learning it—that it would have been so much easier to learn if only had it been presented differently.  I love removing confusion for people.  I don’t always achieve it, but I’m always motivated to find ways to make things easier for people.

I’m sure there are others, but this is good enough to help me draw my point for you.

When I do these things, I’m motivated MOST of the time.  I don’t usually need to “push myself” to get these types of things done.

An Important Realization: When am I lazy sometimes?

OK, so I’m plenty motivated about some things, but I’m not always motivated.  In fact, I notice there are some things that will nearly always bring out the laziest side of me.

See Also: Do we really want success or just an excuse?

However, I’m only sometimes “too lazy” to get certain things done.  There are plenty of times that I’m motivated enough to get those done.


I know that I’m going to be lazy about anything mechanical.  I’m not any good at fixing physical things, and I’m not interested.  Actually, I don’t kid myself.  I NEVER plan on this being accomplished with only my effort.  I know, in advance, to line up help for this.

One of the most frequent ways we short-circuit our success is that we promise ourselves that we will be “motivated” for things that we only sometimes feel motivated to do.  Yes, we might do a really good job with these…for a while.  However, these things DRAIN us.  Eventually, we will no longer have the energy or drive to keep ourselves motivated enough to do these “in-between” tasks.

When we know that we’re lazy, we schedule something or someone to help.

When we know that we will NOT be lazy—because we’re naturally motivated to do something—we get it done.

It’s the things that fall into NEITHER CATEGORY that cause us to make poor plans.  We think that, since we’re “motivated,” we will just push ourselves to get it done.  The problem is that it only works sometimes, but our plans usually require us to “get it done” ALL of the time.

So it’s important to recognize—not only when we BEGIN in our “lazy mode” but—which things we are not naturally motivated to do, because anything else, we won’t do…at least we won’t do it often enough to carry us though those boring times when that initial emotion tricked us into thinking that committing to this crazy stuff was really a good idea.  (Example: It’s a lot easier to PLAN to read a book every day than it is to actually do it.)

However, you’re not alone.

An Important Realization: Others are lazy, too!

Not only are you lazy about some things, everyone else is, too.

Nobody is motivated to do everything all of the time.
As I mentioned earlier, I’ve been fortunate to spend time with some really motivated people, but there is a question that I should have considered immediately. However, only experience brought me the insight to even think about it.

What is that question?

Key Question: If they are successful and know how to do it, why aren’t they doing it (or doing MORE of it)?

Eventually, my experience showed me that, for some things, I’m actually more motivated than some people who most would consider to be more motivated than me.

Then I started reflecting on my own life, and I made another realization.  There are people that most people would consider to be less motivated than me, but these same people have more motivation than me to get some things done.

However, there are plenty of successful people.  So what does it really take?

A Key to a Successful Business: Division of Labor

Now that I’ve realized that each of us is motivated to do SOME things but not everything, the answer for success is obvious.  We need to put people in positions where they will NOT be lazy…hardly ever.

Then I started realizing that many times, I found myself wishing I had help to do certain things, but there are some things I’ll probably never delegate.

When you have a business on your own, you have to do everything, including the things that you’re probably not going to be motivated to do…all of times you need to get them done.

Enter Henry Ford and his idea of division of labor.  His company setup assembly lines where each person focused only on a few things…or maybe only one thing.  We all know what happened with Ford once he did that.  The company took off like a rocket, even before rockets existed.

Each person could focus on finding ways to make his job easier and maybe even be better at it.

Now, I’m trying to find partners who are just as motivated as me, but they need to be motivated to do different things.  I don’t need “additional help” analyzing, reviewing, teaching, or getting things done unless it’s truly a volume that is impossible for even one robot to get done.

However, I know that I’m only motivated to read…sometimes.  I’m only motivated to put together blog sites some times.  I’m only motivated to write press releases…sometimes.  I’m only motivated to sell…sometimes.

This list continues for a long time with many different things.

That does not make me a bad person, and it certainly does not change the fact that I’m more motivated than most other people I will meet.

However, it does mean something else…

I need to find people who are motivated to do things that I’m not naturally motivated to do.

Henry Ford put together his assembly line of workers.

Maybe it’s not the same thing for entrepreneurs, but it sort of is.  Instead of breaking down responsibilities by repetitive tasks, we’re breaking down responsibilities by our habits.

Essentially, the bigger companies are, the more people they have to pick and choose things that most closely match motivation.

Isn’t it better to remain motivated with things where you naturally feel motivated?

Sure we “should” be motivated by everything all of the time, but have you met that person, yet? I sure haven’t, and I don’t think I ever will.

Combine your natural motivations with others, and I guarantee that you’ll increase your chance of being successful.

While there are plenty of big companies that are lousy, the most successful companies are big companies.

You can make yourself bigger by teaming with the right people who are motivated to do things you aren’t.  (Make sure you’re returning that favor, though.  Otherwise, that partnership won’t last very long.)

In what ways, are you almost always motivated?  What are other ways you wish you were?

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