For many of the middle years of my business, I would take the New Year as an opportunity to revisit my business, make new plans, and come up with great ideas for the New Year. In the past few years, I find myself being more reflective than anything else.
Same Old, Same Old?
When I began my business, I just believed strongly that I could do a better job than the software vendors and larger services companies and I knew customers would appreciate this and want to do business with me. Of course, as we all come to realize, it’s not that easy. There are many factors to what causes customers to buy from one company over another. And, like everyone else who stays in this business, I learned the ins-and-outs of all of this in order to keep my business going. Eventually, I started writing and blogging and, in this, believed I was doing some type of service to our industry to help make it better – the help educate people out there to understand the issues of these projects in order to make them more successful.
And while I still approach my customers’ work with enthusiasm and the belief that I bring something special to them, my overall enthusiasm has waned, somewhat. Just over the past few years, I’ve seen so much bad design, bad implementation, bad whatever-you-can-come-up-with, that I feel skeptical that I’ve made any significant impact on our industry.
Over the years, I’ve realized I can only truly affect the projects I work on and I worry less about what others are doing. It’s not that I’m not willing to help people who contact me with questions but I spend less time looking to try to make any impact outside my own projects.
Also, even on the projects I’ve worked on, I’ve come to realize that, no matter how bad things get, it doesn’t mean anyone wants to change anything to make it better nor that they even recognize the problems, even if they appear to be significant.
My Business is Still Here
While it’s partly determination and hard work that causes my business to be here, luck does play a part in it. I should add that whoever said, “The harder you work, the more luck you have,” was certainly onto something.
But I think back a few years to taking on a second person in order to start a new arm of the business. That was an interesting exercise. It was nice to have another person to regularly bounce ideas off of. Let me be really honest about it – it gave me someone to have business lunches with and I really enjoyed it.
But here’s where luck comes into play – when I thought I wanted to change my own personal direction and take a W-2 job, it gave me someone to keep the doors of the business open while I pursued other things. Otherwise, I probably would have just closed the business down. And, since I ended up having to return to my business, it was as easy as just sitting back down at my desk to get things going, again, since I’d left the business open. What I mean is that I didn’t plan to leave the business open – I just left it open because the other person was still in it – it was almost no effort on my part to do that so I had no reason to make them go do something else. Otherwise, without them, I would have closed the doors and had to redo everything almost from scratch, more or less.
Since, in 2018, the second person had left for their own W-2 opportunity, I now find myself back to sitting here reflecting on my own. While I didn’t care about all about the method development and SOP side of the business the other person brought with them, I appreciate the time we did business together. Knowing that business collaborations don’t always end well, I feel lucky that I had such a congenial person to work with – and who was willing to go out to lunch with me, on occasion. 🙂
Here, I finally tell you whether I have plans for change, for the year, or any great predication. The answer is that I do not.
As far as predictions go, I don’t see anything of real note to mention that I think is going to impact our industry sector, at this time.
And, as for plans, while my business has some ongoing work to handle, general plans that I’ve recently made seem to appear and disappear at a quick rate and I think I’ll just have to see how things transpire in the first quarter before trying to regroup.