“Just How Busy Is Being Too Busy?”

Every now and then, we’ll approach or talk to someone about working with us as a potential strategic partner or perhaps collaborating on another project with us, and we’ll hear that they are too busy to even think about adding anything to their hopper. A nice problem to have – maybe. 

Is this a matter of truly working at capacity, of not being willing to consider new business possibilities, of not being interested in growing a business, or in not appreciating how better organization or planning might allow for even more production and more revenue while serving more clients as a result.

This raises the question of just how busy a person or company needs to be in order to consider themselves too busy for additional work, for referrals, for training or credentialing that may help secure new or additional business in the future, or to maintain an open line of communication with someone willing to help them grow their business?

It’s possible to be working at capacity temporarily by having the maximum amount of work that reasonably can be undertaken and completed in a short time period, but this should not be any type of a long-term scenario.

If someone considers that their business is already maxed out, there are three possible things that can be done: enjoy the ride while it lasts, expand with more employees or trade partners and subcontractors to be able to handle the additional work – and even more, or scale back to a more manageable size. One way that businesses might get so busy is by taking on all-comers without a defined business model in place by which to gauge new projects as being an appropriate or unwise use of their resources to undertake.

We know that there are three functional areas of a business – any business regardless of the type, scope, or size. These are administration, sales, and production. If sales have been overly aggressive to the point of outpacing production (the ability to fulfill the orders sold) or administration (having sufficient personnel, capital, materials, and processes to get the orders completed), then the business needs to come back into realignment or the two underperforming segments of the business need to come to life.

There’s a story told of a young energetic lumberjack who shows up on his first day of work determined to make a name for himself. He learns the record for the number of trees felled during a shift and sets his sights on besting that accomplishment. The first day he comes close but doesn’t quite make it. The next day, he shows up a little earlier and works a full shift but still can’t equal the record. The next day, he barely takes a lunch break and gets back to work. After a few days of this breakneck pace, his performance actually begins to decline. He tries harder and harder, but he can’t make any headway on the record. Finally, a foreman notices his dedication and hard work but points out to him that he needs to take time to sharpen his tools.

If we are so busy taking on new work because it’s there, and we may not be as particular about the type of assignment we undertake as we could be, we may indeed become overloaded to the point that we haven’t been managing our business correctly.

We need to make sure that as we are growing our business that we are doing so with the jobs that a proper fir for our vision, mission, purpose, and business model. Otherwise, we face overload and possible burnout because the work won’t be as fulfilling to his or have the proper meaning that it should.

It’s nice to be busy, but it’s even nicer being busy with work that is proper alignment with our core principles and values. This way we feel good about our business, and the clients get our best effort.

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