The Multi-Door Problem

aaronhowertonGuest Blog by Aaron Howerton,  Owner of Panhandle Training and Consulting and WT Enterprise Center CRM Specialist.

The Multi-Door Problem

Entrepreneurs have a multi-door problem. In any given situation there are multiple possible solutions. How to structure your business, for starters. Designing the user interface may be another. Or perhaps committing to a long-term lease to save on monthly costs, although you’re still trying to prove the concept (which may be an issue of cart before the horse if you think about it). Still… treps face a significant challenge for their business almost daily. I get this right now because my doors are actually the various ideas I have competing for attention in my schedule and mind – two things already difficult to manage. My schedule is flexible because when clients come a-knocking I channel my inner Stevie Ray Vaughn – don’t bother, come on in! My mind is a little more challenging. After all, I don’t often ask to wake up in the middle of the night with new inspiration that demands my attention. It just does, and going back to sleep becomes just a dream.

So here’s my strategy, based on both my experience and what I’ve been reading about this particular issue. A special thanks to the entrepreneur panel at Leadership Amarillo & Canyon as I was able to put this to them last week and basically confirmed my suspicions.

Pick one and focus. Stradling too many ideas and projects will eventually cause most of them to collapse as long as they each need your individual attention to succeed. Being a successful entrepreneur means being able to focus on a project and execute that idea into reality. While you can learn a lot from failure, success is more profitable. Unless of course you turn your extensive list of failures into a coaching business that helps Wantrepreneurs decide if stepping out is really the best choice (dibs on this idea, just in case).

Expect failure, don’t accept it. Challenges are all but guaranteed as an entrepreneur. It’s a lot like remodling a house – plan for an extra 1/3 expense in terms of time and money and be prepared to adjust both upward in the first four weeks. We can often expect life to present challenges – failing to is really just irresponsible planning. Accepting the failure as defeat, however, is what separates successful Treps from the rest of the pack. Expect it – sure – but don’t let it define you.

Santa Claus your ideas. Make a list of all your ideas in a notebook or perhaps some fancy web-based system like Asana (one of my current favorite tools). Go back and check it occasionally, filter through for inspiriation and a mental refresh when your current project starts to weigh you down. Maybe even block out 2 hours a week to develop these ideas and keep you engaged in your own passions. Just because you’re focused like a laser-beam on your current project doesn’t mean you aren’t looking for the next adventure. I guarantee you’ll check this one more than twice.

Develop discipline. This, from all I can tell, is a must. If you can’t deliver on your client projects, be on time to meetings, execute your ideas, manage your staff, and generally do what you say you’ll do, it will be difficult to find success. I really liked what Kim May, from NoBox Creative, implied in her response to my question last week (summarized here) – it’s better to routinely surprise and possibly inconvenient your clients by showing up ten minutes early than to lose them showing up ten minutes late.

So this week my goal is effectively Santa Claus my ideas, which will let me focus on the big picture and develop discipline toward being successful in those endeavors. Together, this will enable me to process and use potential failures as a springboard for future success.

May your story be your own –



Categories: Business Insight In the Know Uncategorized