Fires to put out, phone calls to take, emails to respond to, meetings to join, bouncing quickly from one thing to another - all too often this is what it feels like to be the founder of a fast-growing D2C brand: the proverbial game of “Whack-a-mole.”
Your business is growing and thriving, so you are busy. Such busyness is a clear sign of the success you’ve always dreamed of, right? This is the way it’s supposed to be, isn’t it?
Within the busyness of scaling a fast-growing brand lies a trap that is constantly threatening to burn you out and bring your scaling journey to a halt. The remedy? Simply stop and do nothing.
What I’m referring to is a concept I like to call a Strategic Refocusing Break (SRB). It’s an appointment that you make with yourself, on your calendar, every day, week or month, in which you sit down with a notebook, doing nothing except thinking in silence. Having a regular Strategic Refocusing Break will bring you the clarity and confidence you need to keep yourself and your business charging ahead on the path toward successful scaling. The following are a few tips I’ve compiled over my years of taking Strategic Refocusing Breaks. Follow these, and you’ll be sure to get the most mileage out of each one.
1. Schedule them regularly: As mentioned above, schedule your SRBs on your calendar and do them with a consistent frequency. How frequently you do them is not as important as doing them consistently. I recommend at least once a week, but as time goes on, you’ll find a desire to do them more frequently. SRB mastery typically results in a daily SRB of 15 to 60 minutes. My recommendation is to start with one 30 minute SRB each week. Do this until you build a weekly habit, then increase the length and frequency of each SRB over time.
2. Do them outside your office: To get the most out of your SRBs, it is critical that you do them outside your normal office environment. The place where you typically work contains numerous triggers that pull your mind back into the day-to-day “Whack-a-mole” game of scaling a business. Going outside your normal office environment allows you to rise above working “in the business” and to refocus your thinking on strategically working “on the business.” Go to your favorite coffee shop, local park, or simply sit on your back porch. I typically do mine in my den or sitting on my back porch.
3. Ask yourself the 3 key questions: Whenever I sit down to do an SRB, I always ask myself these 3 key questions: 1) Am I focusing my work on tasks and projects that drive the business forward (ie, generate future revenue or strategic competitive advantage)? 2) What unimportant tasks have I allowed to creep into my daily work that take my focus away from #1? 3) Do I have the right people in the right seats doing the right things at the right times? Although there are many other questions I ask myself during my SRBs, these 3 tend to unlock the strategic clarity that I need to move through the rest of my work week with the right focus, clarity, and confidence.
In conclusion, the main takeaway on this topic of SRBs is this: don’t allow your constant busyness to steal the success of your scaling business. Regardless of how you choose to escape from the crazy day-to-day work life you typically live, intentionally schedule time to stop, do nothing, and think.
Do it on a regular basis, outside of your typical office environment so you can rise above working in the business, and develop 3 key questions to ask yourself that help you gain clarity on your top priorities. One thing I can promise you is this: if done right, SRBs will help you scale your business.
Don’t forget - another key to staying focused on your top priorities is having the right person in your CFO seat. One huge challenge for fast-growing brands is they need the financial expertise of a CFO before they can afford to hire one full-time.
If you don’t currently have the budget to afford a full-time CFO, contact Free to Grow CFO. We provide the outsourced, part-time CFO you need to scale your business without the full-time salary.
Cheers until next time!
Photo by Jason Strull on Unsplash