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I’ve been putting myself under the microscope these past few weeks, taking a long and deep look at how and where I’m spending my time. This has been emerging for a few months now, as I’ve been thinking more about the idea of simple business.

In my way of thinking, simple business is about being as profitable as you can, as simply as you can. That means you find income streams that work- and you keep offering them as long as they work. You reduce the number of hours you spend working and make lots of room in your life for other things.

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You let go of the stories about how difficult it needs to be and how many hours you have to work- and you, instead, focus on the few activities which bring you the most return, and get rid of everything else.

This isn’t meant to be a post on Simple Business- though I am definitely feeling like this could be the stirrings of a new business paradigm. 🙂 – but the idea of business building or business fiddling is a good one to look at further.

The idea came to me as I was looking through my schedule and looking at how many business building activities I had compared to business fiddling activities. What I noticed was the I mostly did OK with having enough business building activities to do. But sometimes the business fiddling ones took precedence.

Here’s how I make distinctions between them:

Business building is when you take actions that move your business forward, such as launching a new marketing initiative, making some new referral partners, building a new JV relationship, meeting with your clients or doing discovery sessions or strategy calls.

Business fiddling is when you spend a lot of time on business decisions which won’t notably move your business forward, no matter what you decide. Examples would be recording your business voicemail 25 times to get it ‘perfect’, sorting through samples of 75 business cards so you could can find the ‘just right’ cardstock, or starting to create an information product that you never finish. These are all examples where you spend business energy, but nothing gets generated or created.

Viewed another way, business fiddling is really about filling your time with small choices and small decisions that don’t need the level of care or investment you’re putting into them. It is not to be confused with the time you take to develop a plan and be strategic.

Business fiddling is characterized by lots of activity, but no real forward movement; and this is why you can work long hours but have nothing really to show for it.

Business fiddling can also sometimes show up as constantly learning new marketing and business information that you never actually implement.

Money flows from the place where action PLUS knowledge meet. Knowledge alone, doesn’t make money.

If your business is stagnant, stalled, or just feeling like it’s not growing the way you’d like, that’s a big sign to step back and see if you need to switch from business fiddling to business building.

Your bank account will thank you.

(If you wanted to talk with me about actions you can take to move your business forward more profitably- I’d love to do that. Let’s chat!)