This morning was the first meeting of my business networking club since the New Year break. We had a good laugh when one of the members complained that he had no more business cards with him because he had to throw out the cards he had – they had last year's calendars on the back.
I found it hilarious at the time, but when the laughter died down it made me think: What, in what I'm doing, seems like a good idea now but could be limiting me later on? Am I satisfying myself with “good enough” temporary fixes that become permanent – and limit me in the future?
My best work tends to be “evergreen”, something that by design is independent of time, and which can be reused or adapted in the future. The best case for me is my writing. I have developed lots of worksheets, articles and other tools to help me and my clients. Being a bit of a digital pack rat, I have a fairly comprehensive archive of everything I have written since 1996. I find myself more and more going back to those archives to extract the good stuff, update it and reuse it, saving me lots of time.
On the other hand, an event I did last year was poorly documented. The event was a great success, but a lot of the planning I did was ad hoc, by email or phones or on scraps of paper. Now I'm being asked to produce this event again on a larger scale, and I have to go back and regenerate even the basic project management documentation.
As entrepreneurs, the time we invest in building something is substantial. In many ways, our time is priceless, because it can never be recovered. So each hour must count. When you do something, do it so that it can be reused and built upon.
When you plan and execute for the long game, you avoid being surprised when your temporary fix does not work.
So now I have this vivid image on my mind when I do something, to remind myself not to get business card with calendars printed on the back.