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The Importance of Boundaries in the Small Business World

Deri Llewellyn Davies

Founder of BGI and Creator of "Strategy on a page"?

So here is a conundrum...

The entrepreneur’s world is full of motivational speakers and gurus telling us to hustle, get up early, go to bed late, take EVERY opportunity, and never say die.

This is all fine: motivation is an important factor.  Yes, we can always find a little more time in the day for one or two more tasks, but soon enough our mortal status takes over, and we come crashing back to earth.

We get burnt out, and often we can even end up back where we started, at the bottom of the hill we had just given our all to climb.

Repeat that cycle a few times, and motivation and grit are no longer enough any more.  We need to be smarter.

So what’s the answer?

I believe such a cycle is about boundaries, but carefully chosen and defined ones, built on our values.

The answer is for us to be saying yes to every opportunity that falls inside the boundaries of our values.  

It might feel wrong or even risky to say no to something, especially if that something does not land inside the circle of all that you care about.  Yet the fact is it is likely to be more of a drain on your resources than a boost to your business career.

While that will not always be the case, our values are a pretty good guide to go by.  

Certainly sometimes we will get it wrong, but the fact is...

saying no to one thing you may later regret will not in ruin you

Did you know that Gary Vaynerchuk passed on investing in Uber?  He often talks about that being a regret.  But I think his businesses and his reputation have survived that pretty well!

Missing out now and then is not the end of the world.  I know from experience that spotting a new market opportunity is often a big, shiny distraction.  

If that opportunity falls inside the boundary of your values, then great.  Wild horses should not hold you back!

But keep in mind that not every opportunity is for you.  If it does not sit within the Venn diagram of your purpose and passion, you could let it go.

When I work with small business owners on their strategy, the very first thing I ask them about is their purpose, because I know that if you they do not truly love what they do, they will get bored.  

When boredom sets in, the wheels start to come off.  

We stagnate, we lose focus, and everybody feels it.  You, your family, your team, and your customers.

However, when you build a business that serves your purpose, you are always engaged and motivated.  

The way to keep yourself on track is to minimize those distractions, especially the ones that come in the form of the ‘next big opportunity’.

So remember your boundaries.  If something meets with your values and aligns with your purpose, it is worth your attention.  If it doesn’t, then you know what to do.

Let only the right stuff in:  preserve your energy and focus by leaving the shiny, distracting opportunities to somebody else.  

And above all, work with purpose, on your purpose


Deri Llewellyn Davies

Founder of BGI and Creator of "Strategy on a page"?

Deri Llewellyn-Davies is The Strategy Man. He is a speaker, entrepreneur and author of two books - 'Life's Great Adventure' and ‘BGI Strategy on a Page’. He uses his specific Strategy on a Page methodology to demystify strategic concepts and enable audiences to leave with valuable, practical and actionable principles they can go away and apply.

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