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Tales of a Bottleneck Business Owner

At the risk of sounding too ‘woo woo’ have you ever had that sense that something massive is just around the corner, or that you are part of something bigger – you just don’t know what it is? I believe this is part of our collective consciousness, the energy we transfer between one another by the way we show up, the way we behave and the stories we tell. You must have felt it – someone comes into the room in a foul mood – everyone is affected, you’re sobbing at the end of a film and you’re not quite sure why.

We are much more connected to our environment, the energy around us, the behaviour and attitudes of others than we might like to believe. The upside, of course, is we also get to influence that environment by what we contribute, positive or negative. I believe we are on the brink of a major societal shift; we are moving into an era where impact is much more significant for people, success is measured in the value created and diversity is recognised and not feared, and sustainability is more important than consumption. 

Don’t get me wrong we have a way to go, but it starts with a few brave individuals sharing their vision, ideas and innovations, with other people recognising something as desirable, and gradually a movement builds. Once this happens, change happens. Often this feels like it’s happening really quickly, yet in reality we just don’t see the hard work, the effort and the influencing that the few contributed to building a movement – I don’t recall who first said this, but “it takes about 10 years to become an overnight success”

If you are still reading, have you noticed the similarities to how it goes in business?

Whether you are an ideas person but not a finisher, a dot the Is and cross the Ts person, whether you chuck it out there and see what happens or you prefer to just check it one more time before you share, there are many challenges to actually getting your product or service to a recognisable sustainable position. And guess what? A lot of these challenges are self-made!

Welcome to the life of the bottleneck business owner. In most stages of business growth – including just getting started, there is opportunity for the bottleneck business owner to do their stuff. They usually show up when you are out of your comfort zone, overwhelmed or simply ignorant. I know this sounds harsh, but I’ve helped 1000’s of people over the last 18 years, and in some form or other they are in their own way – the bottleneck between where they are and the success they want to achieve. You can’t get to that place of bigger impact, of doing what you are here to do, of living a fulfilled life if you are stuck in the bottleneck.

Over the next few weeks I’m going to be sharing the tales of a bottleneck business owner – and most importantly how you start to address them. Some of these are drawn from personal experience, some from clients and some from studying neurobiology, human behaviour and its consequences.

Whether you intend to start a movement, create local or global change or simply make a decent living for you & your family it is easier when things flow without bottlenecks. The bottleneck reduces flow, it slows things down, and in business terms they can be frustrating, inconvenient and occasionally go unrecognised. Here a few things to think about when assessing where you might be the bottleneck in your business:

  • Are you the person holding up progress – whether it’s because you need to get a task done, sign something off, or make a decision?
  • Do you delegate where appropriate, do you trust people or are you a control freak?
  • How do you behave – are you curious, courageous, informed or a little insular and risk averse?
  • Does procrastination get in the way of production?
  • Where do you sit on the perfectionism scale – if it’s not perfect (and it probably won’t be) it’s not happening is your mantra you may have a problem.
  • Your thinking – fear and what you believe is possible (or not possible) can propel you forward or keep you stuck.

Being aware of the impact you have – whether you work alone or with a team, it’s a great place to start, think about your business, what’s flowing, what’s stagnant and what might be blocked.

If you’d like to share your thoughts, discoveries and challenges do join us in the Brave Scene Virtual Cowork Community.