When I discuss business I always compare it to a farm or a crock pot. Business takes the time to develop and grow just like a farm does or cooking something in a crock pot. If you do not take care of the farm, water the plants, and do what needs to be done, your crops will fail. If you take off multiple months of taking care of them they will die and the same thing usually happens within a business.
We often take on projects all the time and are looking for success in many different ways. Since people measure success differently everyone’s breaking point is at a different stage. Humans need a way to gauge success and we offset this through rewards. We need a way to reward ourselves in order to continue doing what we are doing or what we “think we should be doing”.
Our motivation factors:
When it comes to motivation, we are usually motivated in the following ways.
There are of course two sides of the coin. We are motivated towards achievement and away from achievement. Meaning we want to achieve a masters degree in business, or we don’t want to be a failure and not finish school.
So, when we start any project, or task, new job, a new hobby, we always have some certain time expectancy in which some kind of result will happen for one of these motivators. If that result doesn’t happen within a certain amount of time and it’s not rewarding enough for us to keep going – then we usually quit.
I like to call this process delay time.
What is Delay Time
Delay time is the time it takes to get enough reward from the task that you are doing in order for you to continue doing it. Take for example of if you are looking for fresh water on a desert island. You probably want a short delay time meaning that you want to find fresh water within a day. If you are looking to purchase a car or house, you may be willing to search around for six months or more to get the right home. There is a difference in time that you are willing to accept between finding a home or finding water
Everyone’s delay time is different depending on the situation and depending on yourself. If you are a person who is well motivated internally, you may be able to put off a reward for a longer period of time. For people that are less patient, they may need to be rewarded more frequently. If you understand this about yourself you will know how big of a project you can take on without getting mentally exhausted or frustrated. This is critical because if you take on too big of a project that you cannot handle and are not used to focusing long periods of time, you will give up and quit.
Let’s apply this concept to businesses and websites.
Growth of Websites Example
Growth and success happen in a unique way. It is not linear, however, this is what most people want it to be. This is what they usually think it is.
We think that if we continue through time doing the things that we should be doing, that the results of our success will naturally continue to grow. In a way, if you continue to water your farm it will naturally continue to grow.
This is not always the case. Even the farm sometimes has floods, hard winds, cold spells, bugs that eat the leaves, and other external events that either create slower growth or even kill the farm.
Success, in reality, looks more like a graph that goes up and down with the end result or moving average slowly moving up towards the appropriate direction. Now the results still go up and forward;l don’t get me wrong. It’s just that sometimes they go far below your initial starting point, sometimes the result even goes negative or lower than you expect, but it’s the path that you must take in order to get further.
Think of this in terms of playing golf. If you play golf you know that you are constantly hitting a small ball towards a hole that is exceptionally far away. It takes multiple strokes to get there, sometimes you get caught in the bushes, other times you get caught in the sand.
Sometimes you may even hit a tree and the ball goes backward, but the end result is the same. You eventually get the ball in the hole. The time to do this whole process may only take 10 minutes. This would be your delay time. The time to have a successful business may take a year or 5 years. So you need to be patient!
My Story of Delay Time
I was working on a website one time for about a year. (This was about 10 years ago early on in my business years). I added a lot of great content, resources, images, and a few videos here and there. The code work took forever and there were many man-hours that were put into the project.
After about one year time, I quit the project because my revenue from advertisers was about $20 a month. I never thought much of it, but still decided to keep the domain because it just made sense and domains only cost $10 a year to maintain.
About 10 months later, I don’t remember how it happened, but I went into my bank account to check some funds or pay some bills and I realized there was a deposit for over $1,300 !!!
I wondered to myself what is this all about? So I went into my advertising campaign and looked at the stats and figures of my website and it turns out that my websites skyrocketed in traffic, hits, users, and everything else!!! (Keep in mind this was the days before Google Analytics so checking stats was a pain) and I did not do it that often.
I was lucky that I did not cancel the domain or delete the website earlier. I just let it sit and marinate just like you let chicken or ribs marinate in a sauce.
I learned a great lesson at this point. Many people just like myself quit right before the moment of success coming to them or exploding in their face. Luckily for me, I was able to reap the benefits and now I understood this concept.
Ninja Steel Killer for Some People in Business
There is one thing to be aware of though in the opposite direction when you’re aware of delay time. Even if you are not aware of delay time should be aware of the ninja stealth killer on businesses. The stealth killer is basically what happens to some people and businesses as you evolve.
Especially if you are a first-time business owner you may be in the euphoric state of enjoying the free time, taking days off, or creating your own environment, and hiring the people you want or your friends. However, this will ninja kill you from the back if you don’t run your business like you should.
What happens is, things may be going well (or good) for quite some time and you are enjoying the freedom and luxuries of owning your own business. The business grows over time and slowly reaches a certain peak. After it reaches the peak it either re-stabilizes or slowly starts to dwindle. Things start to dwindle down because either your rent is higher, maybe new marketing tactics have to be in place, old customers move, whatever the case may be it takes a little bit of extra work to make the business move forward.
For many people, they work in their business at this point rather than on their business grow. (Meaning you focus on cleaning your bathrooms, filing papers, and other tasks that are administrative rather than building your customers, creating new products and expanding your business). This is where it really hurts them hard!
After a little bit, the business starts to decline however you don’t notice it. You don’t notice it because it happens so slowly. Think of boiling the frog analogy. If you toss a frog into boiling water it jumps out. On the other hand, if you put in cold water and slowly raise the temperature to boiling… the frog eventually boils and dies. The same happens with businesses.
You may not notice your business losing revenue or the slow growth or the negative growth but it may be there, so keep an eye on it.
Understanding the Growth Models
When you understand the growth models that I have presented, you become more aware of the business cycles and growth patterns that occur. You may be less likely to quit or give up before a certain period. You may also be more motivated to continue forward when things go in the negative direction. Or it may help you to see the bigger picture of actually closing off your business and moving on to something you enjoy more. Whatever your circumstance is should always keep in mind these various growth models for the future.
They are not just for business but for your life as well, the only thing you have to change is just the axis.
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