Bouncing Baby Business

Well hello, and welcome to Aftershock Weekly, Episode 26. This week I want to talk a little bit, on a personal level, because I’m about to be a proud dad for the third time. I have little Vivienne on the way. She’s four days late, my wife is ready to be done with it.

But I got to thinking about, you know, having a baby, the whole process, and then afterwards—it’s very similar to starting a business. You have all these emotions you start out with to begin with, things like excitement, you know, you’re so excited you’re having a baby. Fear of the unknown, of what might happen to the baby, or a fear of the unknown of what happens when you start a business. The emotions of planning. You know, you start to put together the plan for your business, you put together a plan for your baby and their life, you set up the nursery and all those types of things. Well today I’m going parallel a few things that are similar before and after the baby is born, and really what a healthy baby looks like, and a healthy business.

A healthy baby, obviously, they’re fed regularly, they’re changed, they’re bathed, they have clothes on, nice clean clothes on, and you know, they’re happy. Granted, they’re going to have, they’re going to cry every once in a while, they’re going to have their issues. Well, businesses are similar. There’s a few key pulses that you can look at a business to make sure that it’s healthy. First thing, obviously, is sales. If you have no sales in any business, it’s not a healthy business. Sales will also lead you to look at the cash flow. How much cash do you have flowing into your business as opposed to how much cash flow do you have going out of your business. And in a healthy business, you have to be able to pivot. Things are changing all of the time: your industry’s changing, your clients are changing, you’ve got to understand what’s being innovated out there, what new platforms—you know, in our business, what new social media platforms are out there, what new ways to advertise. If you’re selling widgets you have to know processes and manufacturers of that widget. So, you’ve got to be able to change and pivot and grow, and constantly feed yourself full of information to make sure that you have a healthy business.

As it starts to grow, a baby—they go through things like cutting their teeth, growing into bigger clothes, you’ve got to get a different car seat. Eventually, they’re going to become a toddler, and they’re going to learn to walk. You’ve got to help them along as they learn these different things in life, so that they can be successful at walking, and then eventually reading, and going to school, and be successful in their career. You have to do all these things in the infant stages so you get to the next stage with them, so eventually they’re a happy, healthy adult, and successful and then, guess what? Then they do it all over again with their family. Well, the business is the same way.

Your phases are going to change, you’re going to start an infant business with maybe very little cash flow, and then what’s going to happen is you’re going to start taking orders and customers and then your customers are going to change. You’ll have small orders that turn into big orders. Your clients will turn from small clients into bigger clients. You’ll have different phases of your business that bring different challenges. Then you’ll have to think about, “Okay, I have bigger clients. I have bigger needs and demands on orders.” Well that means I need more cash flow to be able to produce it, I need more people to work, to make sure that’s getting done and out to the market. These are things that you have to keep in mind.

You have to upgrade your talent. At different phases in your business you’re going to need different roles that fulfill a different need, and you’re going to need to assess, “Hey, is this person the type of person who can get this type of job done? Do they have the talent, and do I need to put them through training? Do I need to find someone to replace?” And that can be very hard. It’s just like cutting your teeth as a kid, it’s painful. Well, as a healthy business you always have to be evaluating these things. Do I have the right people? Do I have the cash flow? What does my debt look like? Do I need to improve my product, do I need to improve my service? What’s new out there? So, you constantly evaluate these things as you go into different phases.

So it’s like I said, it’s very similar in the fact that it’s exciting, it’s new, there’s always a wonder of what’s going to happen next. A baby that turns into a toddler has different things that go on in their lives, they have different emotions and mannerisms. I have to boys already, and they’re completely different. So every business is completely different as well. At the end of the day, a well-taken-care-of baby is a pretty resilient baby. They’re going to bump their head, they’re going to get into trouble, they’re going to cry, but they’re going to be resilient, they’re going to grow up as long as they’re taken care of. Your business is the same way. You’re not always going to have the answer to everything, and you’re not always going to get it right, but it’s resilient. It’s not just going to crash in day one, or day ten, or month five, or year fifteen. It takes time to make these decisions, you try, you fail, and you adjust with your business. Very similar.

So I will tell you that if you are starting up a new business, congratulations. If you’re having a baby, congratulations. Thanks for tuning into this week of Aftershock Weekly. With that, we’ll leave you with a quote.