One of my favorite musical groups recently released a new single “Burn It Down” (that link will take you to the video on YouTube) that reminded me of a process I go through periodically with my various businesses. Ask yourself this question, what would this business, relationship or situation look like if I could start over today?
Burn it down
The Linkin Park song has me looking at this process differently. In most cases, starting your business over is not an option; but facing a catastrophe that nearly puts you out of business is a real possibility. Think of your business as a brick and mortar operation. Assuming you have proper insurance in place, how would you rebuild that business if it literally burned to the ground and you lost everything?
In the brick and mortar example, you’d ask yourself questions about changing the floor plan, the decorating and other physical and logistical issues. Would you rebuild the same sized building? Perhaps you could make changes to the sales and delivery process for your product that would allow for reallocation of your workforce. Wouldn’t it be great if more of your team could be frontline people serving customer needs, instead of toiling away in the office or back room?
The day the servers all crash
If you’re like me and your business isn’t a physical place that customers visit, how would you go about this exercise? Again, let’s assume proper business insurance is in place and then one day all the servers crash and none of your backups can be recovered. Now what? That’s the digital version of burning it down so you can start over. Let me be the first to say I hope neither you nor I ever find ourselves in this position. I also don’t what you to look at this as a contingency planning exercise. Hopefully you’ve already done that and as such would never find yourself in this position.
Instead, ask yourself how you’d rebuild your websites, blogs and/or cloud-based application servers. Would you utilize the same hardware and software platforms? Would you utilize the same software development tools? How would you change the user interface and overall user experience of interaction with your business online? See how this is different than “If I could start over today?” Instead you are rebuilding with all the knowledge and the customer base your already have.
Start acting on the changes today
As you answer questions like those in the paragraph above, you’re likely to realize you didn’t get it all right the first time around. Maybe you are getting ready to set up a new applications server, and now is the time to try the other platform you have been thinking about. Sure you may turn out to be wrong; but then you’ll know and can stop wondering. You already know how to set up on your platform of choice, so there really isn’t much risk in trying.
As your business moves forward, think about the way you’d do it after a catastrophe with a clean slate. You probably can’t make all the changes today, but I’m sure you can start moving toward the ideal state for your business that is now held in your head (and hopefully on a few pages of your notebook).
Your turn, Burn it down and start over again (figuratively speaking and in your head of course).
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