Lynda Holt from Brave Scene recently interviewed me on the subject of mundane vs. meaningful business.
This was a great conversation that not only allowed me to explore an obvious ‘pet topic’ of automating and saving time not doing admin for business owners, but to talk about making meaningful business work replace that, too. Practical and philosophical ideas feature, in what was a Facebook Live lunchtime interview.
I’ve edited out some highlights and signposted them for you, but the entire interview is also at the end if you don’t want to miss a word!
More about me (Lucy Whittington – co-founder of Connectably)
My intro and background, from software marketing to finding ‘Things’ and how I’m got involved with Connectably, and how that’s all about working better.
How the mundane in business can creep up on you (and what to do about it)
It’s all very well being told to ‘delegate’ and ‘outsource’ as a business owner, but if you’ve not tidied up and got organised first, you may simply be handing over a mess. And if you’re in a mess, it’s also very easy to fall out of love with your business and find no meaning in the work you’re doing. New software doesn’t fix that feeling. Instead, getting organised, setting up systems and being clear about what good looks like in your business makes the difference. THEN you can think about software to take care of the mundane AND the meaningful business tasks.
My first job at Connectably was working out our process
The 11 Connectors
Listen to me talk through how and why we worked out the 11 Connectors small business owners need to have in place to make their business work better–from attracting enquiries through to refining your results (and the other 9 in between!).
How to make mundane tasks meaningful business actions
Because there are things that will always need to get done, rather than outsource everything see if you can make your marketing, sales and other ‘admin’ more meaningful to you. There’s never just one way to do anything in business, so the trick is to find a way that works best for you and do that, because delegating isn’t always the answer. In fact, even though Gareth and I have changed what we ‘do’, we’re still doing what we’ve always done and have just made it even more meaningful.
Getting paid, and why it needs to be mundane
Getting paid is always a favourite topic for us because of how important it is for every business owner. Here I talk about transactional energy vs. emotional energy when it comes to talking about money, and how sometimes it’s better for some business admin to be mundane and NOT meaningful business activities.
What should be meaningful in business
Marketing and sales should always be meaningful in your business as they are how you communicate with your market, and the conversations you have about your service. With marketing, it’s about finding a way to communicate that also connects with your market, where meaningful will make you Marmite. With sales, it’s about setting up your sales process so that every conversation you have is meaningful to everyone involved (including you!).
Over complicating and why simple connected business is better
The impact of double overwhelm–where you’ve got too much to do and too much software to choose from to ‘help’ you do it. Systems first, software second, and keep it simple! I do have a bit of a rant here, as I explain why we created Connectably. The evolution of too many apps to ‘help’ you automate the mundane in your business may have ironically created even less chance to be meaningful. Mundane can creep up on us and, before we realise, we’ve forgotten that business can be both enjoyable and meaningful. We can experience overwhelm of overwhelm.
Being in control of your business lets you choose meaningful over mundane
The more visibility you have, the more information you can see in your business, the more you can choose what meaningful work to do. You can’t ‘do better’ until you know what’s working and what’s not. It’s also important that meaningful work is profitable, because you are running a business. The ideal is you do your best work–and do that profitably–or create enough profit to have the time to do something else that’s meaningful to you.
You can’t fix your business problems with new software
And yes, I said that, as someone who sells business software… but it’s really important. And it’s also important your whole team has meaningful work to do, and can see where they fit into the ‘system’ and contribute to create a connected business. Make sure your systems include knowing who great customers are for your business, along with how you best work with them. And this is all from a ‘recovering control freak’ (which I confess to).
You get to decide what meaningful looks like for you and your business
This should be a reminder, but if you’ve experienced the ‘mundane creep’ and you’re not finding the time for meaningful business, it’s down to you. Measure what’s working, decide what you want to do more of. I talk about the ‘magic of tidying’ where everything needs a home, both meaningful and mundane. I also mention the mythical ‘washing-up fairy’…
Our why at Connectably: community, working better, and not being a ‘software’ software business
I end by sharing our philosophy of doing our meaningful work first and foremost, and creating software to support that second. For Gareth and I, building a community and supporting small business owners to work better is more important than having ‘the best’ software. To be clear–we’re still making really good software, it’s just what makes Connectably meaningful to us as co-founders is the impact we’re having on business owners who get their time back and stop being so overwhelmed. Our meaningful work is allowing others to do more of their meaningful work. And yes, the way we’re doing that is by taking care of as much as of the mundane as we can.
More about Brave Scene
For the curious, the committed, the creators and the drivers of change, for the people who understand the struggle, yet refuse to settle. For those who know there is more. http://www.bravescene.com/
Lucy is speaking at Brave Fest–a weekend ‘business event’ like no other, in the New Forest 27–29 April 2018
You can watch the complete video of Lynda’s interview with Lucy here: