Here’s to New Beginnings and Choosing to Get Messy

Spring is a natural time of change and movement. People put away lingering holiday decorations, shift wardrobes, and fix any damage that winter storms may have brought. Whether winter was mild or horrible, spring is a time of renewal, providing the opportunity to make a choice about how they want the rest of their year to look. 

In the context of global pandemic and recovery, this message is particularly strong. 

Even though we are still facing issues from the ‘winter’ of  coronavirus, entrepreneurs should take advantage of the natural momentum of spring. It’s time to choose to get messy, get your hands in the dirt – metaphorical or literal – and begin to lay your plan(t)s. 

Preparing to grow

In entrepreneurship, as in weather, storms come and go. You have little control over when they come and sometimes they catch you in a moment when you’re unprepared. Once you’ve gotten a hold of what you can control, you have to take stock of what’s left, what’s next, and what you want to create. 

In short, you have to get messy. 

In my family, we have a spring cleaning tradition like many others across Canada and the United States. We deal with the winters as best we can and spring is the time to plant the garden, repair damage that winter caused, clean up the house, and think about what we want to get ready for summer. Depending on how nasty the winter was, this task is painful. However, it always feels amazing when everything is settled and a new beginning can indeed start. 

This spring cleaning mentality crept into my business life, too. As I was building Doxim, each spring became a time to implement plans for the future. It became our symbolic and literal time to put our fingerprints all over everything. We wanted to regain control over what was lost and plant the seeds that would bear fruit for years to come. And every single time it felt fantastic to put the work in.

In business, spring cleaning became about our goals:

  • Planning for major launches that year. 
  • Fixing any “leaks” we found in our infrastructure. 
  • Addressing technical debt and building new features. 
  • Developing our people so they would be ready for future changes. 

A new beginning

Routines and traditions like spring cleaning play a pivotal role in our lives and deeply affect us as entrepreneurs. Over the years, the energy of new beginnings that comes with spring is an opportunity no entrepreneur should pass up. 

We are in a global pandemic, and all research suggests we are headed for a second wave of some sort. However, spring has offered some reprieve. Businesses are slowly starting to re-open and news comes out regularly about the search for a COVID vaccine. In all of this there is optimism and breathing room. 

I implore leaders to take that breathing room and not let it go to waste. Instead, use it to make your own plans – build a more resilient organization and plant the seeds that will help you in the future. 

In particular, look to: 

  • Embed innovation in your business: Support novel ideas, build feedback loops, and be more willing to let creative employees test new things. 
  • Build resilience into your organization: Think about your cash flows, contract assurances, and backup sources of revenue before the next crisis hits. 
  • Get your recovery dashboard in order: Start tracking the positive outcomes and resilience factors you want to see in your organization. 

Don’t let spring pass by

The people who let spring go by, just happy they are no longer in winter, sacrifice long-term happiness for short-term relief. As entrepreneurs, we can’t do that because you never know if any one winter will be your last winter. That’s why we must take advantage of spring’s momentum and make our plans a reality. 

I can’t promise that businesses won’t fail – and every entrepreneur knows that taking advantage of one opportunity is no guarantee of success. However, failure after trying everything is not a failure, but a lesson. It may be painful, but it will serve you well in the end. And the only way to try everything is to take action. That’s what I am encouraging you to do. 

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