These words have been coincidently channelled in my direction from multiple sources over the past few months. But after 6 years of building our business in Scotland, and most recently entering the London market, our entrepreneurial spirit has been shadowed by a fast-paced focus on acceleration of practically every part of our business.
So slowing down, particularly as we know that the most dangerous survival years of any small business are the first 5 and then the second, feels not only alien but also risky in itself.
But recently I have realised that fast really doesn’t always bring speed.
Trying to remind ourselves that we are on a journey is often tricky when there are objectives to reach and high standards to maintain on a daily basis. Our continued YOY growth since our inception of circa 50% has been the result of a resilient and talented team that has, without a doubt, never stopped learning, never stopped listening and never stopped driving their efforts towards our vision. And only in the past few months have we even taken time to slow down to properly articulate what that vision is.
Like many SME’s we have faced many challenges, some anticipated, some unexpected and some completely left-field. How we have overcome these challenges has made us stronger and without realising it at the time, has helped us to define our new vision and cultural strengths that are the ones that are key to our survival now and in the future. We have learnt that sometimes moving too fast and growing too fast without a clear a meaningful goal only serves to throw up more threats that if not managed and ‘nipped in the bud’ can cripple a business.
Key learnings and reflections over the past few months have suggested:
- Slowing down to reflect upon why we are each here, what we want out of the business and our relationship with it, reminds us of a more meaningful purpose, helping bring clarity, purpose and focus to the every day
- Slowing down to think about your go/ no go decision making criteria, speeds up the decision making process
- Slowing down to think about that new job role profile in detail, rather than putting pressure on sending it out, will result in a more successful recruitment process
- Slowing down to prioritise the things you need to tell your team each week helps keep them in the loop, feel informed and provide an opportunity to add value, every day, making everything slicker, more aligned and more energetic
- Slowing down to respond to a new business enquiry to determine a) is it right for us?, b) are we right for them? and c) what’s the best response? will save heaps of time in the long run
- Slowing down to talk about what we’ve learnt recently, not just what needs to be done today, will make us more efficient
- Slowing down to give others the ownership to take things forward vs hurrying to do things yourself to get things done, speeds tasks up
The challenge of course is that this all makes perfect sense when explained verbally, written down, listed or discussed but when it comes to putting it in practice, requires real determination, resilience and focus to change every day behaviour. Maybe simply starting to nudge things in the slower, speedier direction and pulling each other up when we revert back to previous behaviour is a first step?
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